Busting Common Food Allergy Myths | Food Allergens in Non-Food Items
According to Dr. Wood, food allergies trigger more than reactions—they can also initiate misinformation and misconceptions that may discourage sufferers from seeking help or lead them to blame every ailment under the sun on food allergies. Food Allergies for Dummies, by Wood, separates fact from fiction to bust the most common food allergy myths:
It's nothing more than a stomachache. A stomachache is probably a simple case of indigestion, but it could be an early warning sign of the onset of a food allergy. Without an accurate diagnosis, you're at a higher risk of experiencing a more severe reaction later and being unprepared to deal with it.
A little taste can't hurt. To your immune system, even a tiny amount of a problem food is enough to trigger an all-out attack. People with severe allergies can have life-threatening reactions when the same knife used to cut a cupcake containing the allergen is also used for a supposedly allergen-free item.
A tiny bit may actually help. Although some food allergy treatments call for exposing the immune system to increasing amounts of a known allergen to desensitize the allergic person, trying this without the supervision of an allergist is very dangerous. Food allergies make me hyper. Food allergies are often blamed for psychiatric disorders, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Although food may play a role in the severity of the symptoms, food allergies are not the root cause or even a strong contributor to other disorders.
Epinephrine is a dangerous drug. Early treatment with an epinephrine injection can save your life in the event of a severe reaction. The fact is that epinephrine is a very safe drug, and for a huge majority of food allergy sufferers, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
You’re allergic to any food that causes problems. Foods can cause problems for all sorts of reasons, including other ingredients in the food, toxins, high concentrations of histamine, bacteria and viruses.
If you weren't allergic to it before, you can't be allergic to it now. The onset of a food allergy is brought on by a genetic susceptibility and exposure to the problem food. The more exposure to the problem food, the higher the risk of developing an allergy to it if you’re susceptible.
I’m allergic to food additives. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (a flavor enhancer) or food coloring can trigger reactions, even severe reactions, but these are not allergens by nature. Reactions to food additives are chemical reactions that produce symptoms very similar and perhaps even identical to those of allergic reactions.
Remember: When you experience a reaction to something you've eaten or have been feeling under the weather for some time, don't rely on misinformation and myths. See an allergist.