ALLERGY OR INTOLERANCE?
There’s a big difference between allergies and intolerances, says Maureen Jenkins, health advisor for Allergy UK. “Allergic reactions tend to be immediate, whereas intolerances tend to appear more than 12 hours, and up to several days, after eating the culprit food,” she says.
Food allergies are triggered by eating something that your body sees as a foreign substance. Your body attacks the proteins in the food by releasing the allergy antibody (IgE), which causes the reaction. Symptoms include blotchy, itchy hives, itchy or swollen face and mouth, sneezing, blocked or runny nose and eyes and shortness of breath.
Very rarely, a baby may have an anaphylactic reaction. This is the most severe form of allergy, and can be lifethreatening. Your child’s throat may tighten, he may feel faint and look pale or blue and clammy. He may even lose consciousness. If you think he’s having an anaphylactic attack, take him to the emergency ward of a hospital immediately. If anaphylaxis is diagnosed, your child will be injected with Epinephrine (adrenaline).
Food intolerances occur when you’re unable to digest certain foods, usually due to a lack of a particular enzyme in the body. Symptoms include tummy pain and colic, vomiting and diarrhoea and, sometimes, behavioural problems.