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What to Do if You Suspect an Allergy

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can occur within minutes to up to 2 hours after consuming the allergen, and some may be delayed by up to three days. This may make it hard to pinpoint the cause of your reaction. Talk to your doctor about testing alternatives, like skin or blood tests and elimination diets (where foods are removed from the diet, then added back to see if there is a reaction).

Genetics does play a role in food allergies. These issues tend to be passed down in families, so parents with allergies are likely to pass on these tendencies. Luckily, many allergies may be outgrown, though allergies to peanut, tree nuts, milk, fish and shellfish allergies may persist.

Adults should note that allergies can develop at any time of life, even to foods that you've eaten many times before.

Food Intolerance
It's easy to confuse a food allergy with a food intolerance. For example, milk makes many people feel sick to their stomach. It could be a milk allergy, but is much more likely to be lactose intolerance. This condition is due to the inability to digest milk sugars and does not involve the immune system. There are other intolerances to red wine, caffeine, chocolate or MSG, among others. These can cause headaches or upset stomach in some people. Talk to your doctor if you suspect a food intolerance.

Gluten Intolerance
This is caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten, a protein found in some grains (wheat, rye, barley and oats) but is not an allergic reaction. It causes damage to the lining of the small intestine, with symptoms like diarrhea and weight loss. The only treatment is to eliminate gluten from your diet. Replace wheat, rye, oats or barley with corn or rice whenever possible. Learn more from the Celiac Disease Foundation and consult your doctor.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT A FOOD ALLERGY

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can occur within minutes to up to 2 hours after consuming the allergen, and some may be delayed by up to three days.

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FOOD ALLERGY RESOURCES

Check our Frequently Asked Questions and take a look at our links to learn more about a specific concern.

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FOOD ALLERGY
& ANAPHYLAXIS NETWORK (FAAN)

Food Lion is a proud, platinum sponsor of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN).

LEARN MORE

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