How to Know If You Have a Food Allergy or Intolerance

Worried about food allergies? Whether you think that you, your partner, or your child might have a food allergy (allergies are common in children), it is important to work out whether this is true. Food allergies are usually mild or moderate, but can be serious and even life-threatening, so you want to get answers. It is not always clear if someone has an allergy, though, as they could also have an intolerance or simply have a reaction to certain food one time. This article will provide you with the information that you need to work out if you have a food allergy so that you can then make a plan to manage this allergy.

Allergy vs Intolerance

First, it is helpful to look at the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance. A food intolerance will only affect the digestive system, whereas a food allergy will also affect the immune system. Many people with food intolerances can handle a small amount of the food that causes a reaction and they may be able to prevent this reaction, but small amounts of the offending food for someone with an allergy can trigger a serious reaction.

Major Food Allergens

There are many food types that people are allergic to. The Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act of 2004 identifies 8 foods as major allergens:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustacean shellfish
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

If you experience symptoms after consuming any of these foods, then you might have a food allergy and you will want to have this confirmed.


Food allergies can cause many symptoms, ranging from mild to life-threatening. The most common symptoms include:

  • Tinging in mouth
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea
  • Dizziness

A severe reaction is known as anaphylaxis and can be life-threatening. Symptoms of this include:

  • Tightening of the airways
  • Rapid pulse
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Drop in blood pressure

Getting an Allergy Test

If you ever have any of the symptoms above after eating, then it is a good idea to get a food allergy test carried out. An allergy test can identify any food allergies or other allergies that you have so that you can then know to avoid triggers and also what to do if you ever consume a trigger. As mentioned, a food allergy can be life-threatening, so they need to be taken seriously. If the test comes back negative, you might have an intolerance and this is still challenging but easier to manage. Knowledge is key when it comes to allergies, so once you identify if you have an allergy, you can then learn how to remove it from your diet and find suitable replacements.

Food allergies are highly common and you must work out if you have an allergy, intolerance, or simply have a physical reaction to a type of food one time. Hopefully, the advice in this post will help you to get the answers that you need.


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