Food Allergy Overview
Patient Comments Read 13 Comments
A food allergy is an immune-mediated adverse reaction to a particular food. For someone with a food allergy, eating or swallowing even a tiny amount of a particular food can cause symptoms such as skin rash, nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea. Because the body is reacting to something that is otherwise harmless, this type of allergic reaction is often called a hypersensitivity reaction. Rarely, a severe allergic reaction can cause a life-threatening set of symptoms called anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock.
Although a large percentage of people believe they have a food allergy, few adults and children, mainly younger than 6 years, have true food allergies. The rest have what is known as food intolerance, an undesirable reaction to a food that does not involve the immune system.
It is easy to confuse food intolerance with food allergy because they can have similar symptoms. With food intolerance, however, a person usually gets only mild symptoms such as an upset stomach.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/3/2014
Jatinder Singh, MD
Mark Clark, MD
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Must Read Articles Related to Food Allergy
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Food Allergy:
Food Allergy - Treatment
What was the treatment for your food allergy?
Food Allergy - Describe Your Experience
Please describe your experience with food allergy.
Food Allergy - Symptoms and Signs
What are your food allergy symptoms and signs?