If eating cheese always gives you a migraine you might assume you’re allergic to it.
But chances are you’re actually one of the estimated 45 per cent of people in the UK who suffer from a food intolerance.
The two debilitating problems are often confused and food allergy and food intolerance awareness week – starting today – hopes to clear that issue up and give sufferers more advice and information about their condition.
Considering cases of allergies are estimated to have tripled during the last 20 years, their guidance is clearly much needed.
Allergy UK believe an allergic condition will affect around one in four people in the UK at some time in their lives, with numbers increasing by 5 per cent each year, many of them children.
A food allergy happens when a person’s immune system immediately reacts in a negative way after the offending food has been eaten, or sometimes even touched or smelled. Allergy symptoms can range from a slight rash or runny nose, wheezing, itching, severe abdominal problems and sudden collapse, to the most severe reaction, anaphylaxis.
When it comes to food intolerance symptoms – such as fatigue, bloating and irritable bowels – they’re nearly always delayed, taking hours, and sometimes even a day or two, to appear.
Lindsey McManus, executive director of Allergy UK says: ‘The word allergy is used to describe an adverse reaction, but people don’t understand the difference between food allergy and food intolerance.
‘Working out the difference is hard and the word does tend to get bandied about wrongly.’
For more information about allergies and food intolerance visit allergyuk.org