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How To Spot An Allergy Or Intolerance

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  What’s the difference between an allergy and intolerance?

If you suspect that milk or a certain food is making your child feel  unwell or react suddenly, it can be quite unsettling to begin with. But  there’s a helpful way to tell the difference between a food allergy and  a food intolerance and that’s how quickly the reaction takes place. 

Allergy

With an allergy, the signs are usually there within minutes or seconds.  An allergy is when the immune system gets a bit confused by reacting to an  allergen in the food and builds up antibodies to attack it. The body  releases defence chemicals, which cause an allergic reaction such as  sneezing, swelling or a rash. It’s important you get your doctor to  diagnose an allergy if you suspect one. 

Intolerance

With intolerance, the symptoms might be similar but the reaction usually  takes longer and doesn’t involve the immune system. Upset tummies are often  the main complaint.

What can I do to help?

Food allergies are increasingly common, so you’re not on your own.  Keeping a diary of what you give your child can help you spot where the  problem lies and only offering a new food every four days during  complementary feeding will help you spot any new reaction. Intolerance  can be harder to diagnose. In either case, the best thing is to contact  your doctor for an appointment, who will help to diagnose the problem and  give you advice on how to manage it. ​​

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