Aug 18, 2019 | Updated: 08:03 AM EDT

Experts Differentiate Allergy vs. Food Intolerance vs. Side Effect

Jun 11, 2019 02:00 PM EDT

(Photo : Cenczi)
Measuring allergic reaction
(Photo : Airmen 1st Class Kyle Gese (U.S. Air Force))
Measuring allergic reaction

Allergies are characterized by a person's supersensitivity to certain allergens. A person's body can show an allergic reaction in different ways such as swelling, sneezing, inflammation, hives, shortness of air, and others, which could be mild to severe, or even life-threatening.

While there has not been any definite cure for allergies. There are treatments or safety measures that a person with allergies can do.

There are different types of common allergies that include food allergies and drug allergies.

According to experts, most people mistake food allergies as food intolerance. To differentiate, allergic reactions would appear as soon as a few minutes after the food has been ingested, while intolerance is characterized by digestive problems such as diarrhea, gas, or bloating. Often times, allergic reactions happen when a person's immune system overreacts to food that is normally harmful to other people.

Some people are allergic to artificial food, which means that their immune system would have to overreact by showing allergic reactions to signal a halt in the intake of artificial food or even food with preservatives. This would include such additives that are used to preserve food and extend its shelf life, as well as food coloring. Preservatives, additives, and coloring could act as a form of "poison" for people who are allergic to artificial food. Some common examples of artificial food or heavily preserved food are canned goods, soft drinks, packed juice, dried fruits, and pickles. People with an allergic reaction to certain types of food should make an effort to identify which food items trigger an allergic reaction so that their intake could be kept to a minimum or stopped completely. Grains with gluten, milk, sesame, peanuts, soy, barley, and seafood are other common foods that could trigger an allergic reaction for some people.

Some people are allergic to certain drugs and are most probably at risk of experiencing anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. These would include non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, drugs with sulfur content, aspirin, and chemotherapy drugs. Some are also allergic to antibiotics such as tetracycline, penicillin, and ciprofloxacin. However, there is a difference between side effects and allergic reactions to drugs. Any person can experience side effects caused by drugs. In most cases, side effects would not involve or affect a person's immune system. While side effects can be experienced by a larger group of people in a given location, allergic reactions to drugs only affect certain people whose system rejects certain chemicals.

Experts say that even if a person has already used a specific drug before, there is still a possibility for them to experience a reaction to the drug. If this happens, it is important to get help urgently.

Some allergic reactions that were diagnosed early can be treated with prescribed or over the counter regimens. As all product allergies are caused by a malfunction of the immune system, it is important to keep track of the products that can cause allergic reactions.

Experts recommend sugar-free minerals to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. It is also recommended to keep antihistamines close for treating hives and other symptoms caused by allergies.

Some experts recommend sugar-free vitamin C for liver cleansing. The said vitamin can help detoxification of the liver while improving immunity. Still, the best decision is to consult and follow a physician's advice.

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