Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?
Sue Hubbard, M.D.
Allergic Reactions to Food
An allergic reaction to a food, such as strawberries, might include hives, itching, swelling of the tongue or difficulty breathing
I just received an email question via our free iPhone app. A mother with a 9-year-old daughter asked, "Could my daughter could be allergic to strawberries, as she gets a stomachache and sometimes vomits after she eats them? She hasn't had problems eating strawberries before." This is interesting because I've been reading and reviewing several articles on food allergies and their diagnosis.
One piece ran in JAMA (
Food allergy is also not uniformly defined, but according to the
All this being said, it sounds more like this child has developed an intolerance to strawberries, rather than an allergic response. It would be important to get more history, such as what else she's eaten with the strawberries when the reaction occurs, if the symptoms are always the same, and if the child has any other problems associated with the ingestion. Specifically, does she complain of hives, itching, swelling of the tongue or lips, difficulty breathing? Does she have problems with any other foods?
I also wonder if this child has the same symptoms if she picks fresh strawberries, or if the fruit is frozen. In other words, like so many things in medicine, a good history is probably the most important part of this "strawberry story."
If the child continues to have problems and the same symptoms, this sounds more like intolerance than a true allergic reaction, and she should simply avoid strawberries.
Her mother might also check with her pediatrician about doing a blood test for IgE antibodies to strawberries. A food intolerance would not trigger an increase in IgE antibodies, as it's not an allergic reaction. If confusion persists, she could be referred to a pediatric allergist for further evaluation and even an oral food challenge.
There continue to be a great many studies surrounding the etiology of food allergies, and I'll keep you posted as new information is presented.
Available at Amazon.com:
- Fever May Not Always Warrant a Trip to the Doctor
- Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?
- Your Day-by-day Flu Guide
- Wintertime Upper Respiratory Infection Sends Some Kids to the Hospital
- Stay-happy Tricks for Sick Kids
- Get Your Kids to Trade in Screen Time for Sleep
- Mono and Epstein Barr Virus: What You Need to Know
- Don't Forget Skincare and Sun Protection in Winter
- When to Worry About Stuttering
- Healthy Foods That Make Teeth Rot
- Make Sledding Safety a Priority
- New Research Offers Hope For Eczema Patients
- Why Sarah Palin Is Wrong About Michelle Obama's Weight Gain Fight
- New Iron Recommendations Issued For Children
- Get Smart About Antibiotics
- 8 Ways to Soothe a Sick Kid
- Is It Really That Icky?
- Are Germ-killing Products Harming Your Health?
- Is Cord Blood Banking Worth It?
- Child Born With Hip Dysplasia May Not Need Future Hip Replacement
- Why Vitamin D Is Important For Your Kids
- Safeguard Your Child's Digestive Health
- Goal of Treatment for Alpers' Disease is to Ease Symptoms
- Confusion Reigns Over Cough and Cold Medicines
- Children Can Have Migraine Headaches
- First They Came for My Twinkie ...
- Keeping Lunch Boxes Interesting and Healthy
- Kids Should Drink Milk, Even If It Is Chocolate
- Protect Your Child From Iron Deficiency
- Rare Muscle and Skin Disorder Can Be Difficult to Treat
- The Kid's Doctor: Kids and Choking Dangers
- Pertussis Cases Continue to Rise
- Alternative Treatments To Fight a Cold
- Contact Lenses Appropriate For Kids Old Enough to Handle the Responsibility
- Adverse Effects of Scoliosis Depend on Magnitude of the Curvature
- How to Make Sure Your Kids Eat Enough Vegetables
- Four Loko: Boozy Up-and-Down Makes This Loko Loco
- The Kid's Doctor: Young Athletes and Overuse Injuries
- The Kid's Doctor: Wart Treatments Vary
- Colic -- Although Stressful -- is Temporary
- Healthy Eating Guide to Cereal
- Supplements for High School Athletes: How to Make Smart Choices
- Why Sniffles Hit Hardest at Night
- Child With High Body Mass Index at Increased Risk of Health Problems
- Normal Weight Obesity - A Growing Concern
- Child's Height at Age 2 May Predict Adult Height
- A Parent's Guide to Coughs
- Team up With Schools to Fight Flu Season
- The Dangers of Diagnosing Online
- Family Dinners Help Fight Obesity
- Don't Take Hollywood's Advice on Treating Kids With Head Lice
- Determine Cause of Child's Lack of Growth Before Considering Hormones
- Teach Your Kids to Stress Less
- Common Food Allergies in Kids
- Healthy Lunches Your Kids Will Love Recipe
- Teens' Chronic Headaches Often Fade With Time
- Anxiety Before New School Year is Common for Many Children
- Childhood Obesity From a Holistic Perspective
- Whooping Cough Continues to Affect People of All Ages
- Keep Your Athletes Hydrated On and Off the Field
- Drink Up! Avoiding Dehydration
- How to Stop Your Baby's Wheezing and Prevent Asthma
- Fighting Drugs With the Power of Sleep
- Milk: When the First Food May Be the Best Food
- Introducing New Foods to Your Child
- Coping With Altitude Sickness
- Protecting the Future Health of Our Boys
- The Power of Persuasion: Food Marketing Really Does Work
- Fighting Childhood Obesity From a Holistic Perspective
- Congress Must Act Now to Alleviate Child Hunger
- Exercise for Kids: 5 Tips for Parents
- Too Much Screen Time for Kids Means Poorer Health
- Nutrition May Be Key to Helping Control ADHD
- Foods to Reduce Allergy and Asthma Symptoms in Kids
- Toddler With Recurring Ear Infections May Benefit From Tubes
- Prevent and Treat Summer Rashes
- Enjoy Breakfast as a Family
- Sick Day TLC
- When to Call the Doctor
- Sunscreen Facts You Need to Know
- Asthma and Allergies Can Run in Families
- Salivary Gland Stones Rare But Not Unheard of in Children
- How Much Vitamin D is Enough
- Tick-Borne Disease Risk Peaks in Spring and Summer
- Are Carbonated Drinks Bad for Bones?
- The Threat of Childhood Obesity
- Secrets to Breathing Better With Allergies
- What's the Right Amount of Vitamin C
- Get the Lead Out: The Less Exposure to This Toxic Metal the Better
- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sugar
Copyright © 2011 KIDSDR.COM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.