Allergy vs intolerance

Question

What’s the difference between an intolerance and an allergy, both for food and for medication?

Submitted by Anien on 21 August 2014

Answer

Hi reader and thank you for that interesting question. There is usually confusion between intolerance and allergy. Intolerance usually means that one is sensitive to side effects or ingredients, in other words the ingredients cause discomfort. Allergy means that the body creates a specific immune reaction as a result of exposure to a substance and is often more dramatic and has more immediate health consequences than an intolerance reaction. An intolerance develops when a patient has a condition that impairs the correct digestion and metabolism of a foodstuff or medication, an allergic reaction develops when a patient has specific immune antibodies to a food type or medication. Food and medication allergies should be recorded and carried on a person at all times, in the form of something such as a medical alert bracelette.

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