But I have also become more aware of folks who tell me how allergic they are to something when they really just have an intolerance. For example, someone I know gets a little crampy if they have a certain type of cheese - but she tells me she's allergic. It drives me a little crazy (ok I need to say it - it drives me nuts- hee hee). I think to myself - does she have any idea what being allergic really means?
But then I thought to myself - do I?
So I went a' searching and here's what I found, courtesy
of the Mayo Clinic:
Food intolerance vs. food allergy: What's the difference?
Although many people have adverse reactions to certain foods, true food allergy — a reaction triggered by the immune system — is uncommon. Only about 2 percent of adults and 6 percent of children have a true food allergy. Far more people have a food intolerance, unpleasant symptoms triggered by certain foods. Unlike a food allergy, a food intolerance doesn't involve the immune system.
Lactose intolerance is one example of a food intolerance. People with lactose intolerance lack the enzyme lactase needed to digest milk sugar (lactose) in milk and other dairy foods. This inability to break down lactose during digestion may cause diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain.
In a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly identifies a specific food or a component of a food as a harmful substance. Your immune system triggers certain cells to produce immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to fight the culprit food or food component. The next time you eat even the smallest amount of that food, the IgE antibodies sense it and signal your immune system to release histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream. Signs and symptoms of a food allergy may include tingling in the mouth, hives, swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, wheezing or breathing difficulties, and dizziness or fainting.
It's important to distinguish food intolerance from food allergy. If you have a food allergy, eating even the tiniest amount of the food may trigger a serious allergic reaction. By contrast, if you have a food intolerance, you usually can eat small amounts of the food without a reaction.
If you have a reaction to a particular food, tell your doctor about it. Tests can help determine whether you have a food allergy.
So now you know. Have you encountered folks saying they are allergic to something and they are really intolerant? Should we treat an intolerance with the same seriousness? Even though it bugs me a bit, I still respect it as I wouldn't want someone else to brush off Bella's true allergy (and by true I mean life threatening). But how would you respond to someone? I told my friend she had an intolerance and she was adamant she was allergic - ah well.