• Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food.
  • Even a tiny amount of the allergy causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways.
  • In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as
  • It’s easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. While, food intolerance is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system.


Food Allergy – Definition

Must be differentiated from food intolerances and other adverse food reactions

Key components of food allergy:

  • An immunologic response to a food protein (food intolerances usually related to carbohydrates)
  • Exquisitely small amounts may cause a reaction
  • Reactions can be severe and even life-threatening


  • Food Allergy
  • Immune system reaction
  • Is a potentially serious immune response to eating certain foods.
  • Food Intolerance

– Inability to digest food

– Is an adverse reaction to food that does not involve the    immune system and is not life-threatening.


Food Allergy – Prevalence

  • 5 – 7% of young children
  • 2 – 3% of adolescents and adults
  • Prevalence appears to be rising (sharply)
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