Allergy vs Intolerance: what’s the difference? – Nuffield Health
30
August

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


What!? – I’ve never actually been tested for
a penicillin allergy. – I think I’m allergic to peanuts. – Mainly grass pollens
things like dog hair, cat hair. – Spicy food and Mexican foods – I think it’s just
peanuts to be honest and usually a reaction would mainly just be throwing
up . Pleasant. – Every so often, normally during the summer, I found I could not
see because my eyes were stinging so incredibly powerfully. – It’s just the most
extreme reaction I’ve ever had to anything. – My lips felt like they were
swelling up a bit and they were tingly and my tongue felt a bit larger in my
mouth. – I just feel this uncontrollable sickness, not the kind that you can just
hope will go away. – I think in the beginning it was kind of like “what the hell’s going
on?” and then after a while I was like okay I can’t kind of breathe. – In the
last five years we’ve seen a 600% increase in A&E admissions for severe
allergy or anaphylaxis. – Well my understanding such as it is… – If you
have an allergy to something then it’s definitely more severe than an
intolerance. – So if you’re allergic potentially it’s a bit more
life-threatening where as – Intolerance in my understanding. – I think it’s a gut
reaction? – But it’s not immediately life-threatening. Allergy, immune response
something your body believes is attacking it and it needs to stop it. It
is reacting to a threat, happens instantly, can be up to a few hours later
and symptoms can affect the entire body. Intolerance is different tends to be
more delayed, up to 72 hours later symptoms are more around the
gastrointestinal tract and importantly, an intolerance is never severe enough
that you can die from it. The most annoying thing is just not
knowing exactly what it is, so just having to avoid like a wide variety of
foods just because just in case. – I can’t swim now without getting infections in
my ears. – It does mean that I have to put a lot of precautions in place to make
sure that I’m safe all the time. – There is a difficulty in that I don’t
know specifically what’s the trigger. – Well if you’ve got symptoms and you want
to understand more about whether you should avoid things or not, allergy
testing could absolutely be right for you. I really want to get a definite
answer as to whether I’ve grown out of it. – I started to sort of understand that
it is an avenue you can go down and get tested and it wasn’t until recently that I considered it. – So everybody has IgE. When you get your test results,
your total level of IgE will be looked at to say is there an allergic reaction
happening right now. A grade zero means that really there is no potential of you
having a reaction to that allergen. Grade six means that it is absolutely definite
that you will react to that allergen and actually to a level where you may need
to go to hospital. – Thank you. – Okay, here we go. – And the winner is! – Oh, okay wow. – It’s quite a lot, I didn’t expect that. – Really?
– Okay, so I’m allergic to… – Peanuts, wheat, soya bean, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds… – House
dust mites… – Animal hair and peanuts. – Coconut, apple, banana, pear… – Peanuts
hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts… – It says I’m not allergic to anything you tested for. – Cladosporium herbarum… I don’t know what
that is. – It’s a fungus. – My results were negative. – You are allergic to house dust
mites and timothy grass. I’ve never met timothy grass. – Timothy grass, we test it
because it’s the most common allergen in grass. – Really specific. At least now
I know so I can be like “This is what the situation is.
Can’t eat anything in this. – So now it’s been put into context for me. – It’ll be nice to
actually have a conversation with you know specialist, a doctor and and see what can
be done about them, rather than just trying to make it up on my own and
Google things which is never a good idea. – It’s a lot more extensive than actually I
had imagined. – Now I have the knowledge that there is some reality behind my
symptoms.


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