If you encounter an unpleasant reaction after eating certain foods — hives, itching, swelling or trouble breathing — you may have a food allergy. Then again, you might not.
Many Americans believe they are allergic to specific foods. But true food allergies aren’t as common as you might think. Only about 1 percent of the adult population actually has a true food allergy. This is little consolation if you’ve had a bad experience and fear a recurrence. That’s why it’s important to distinguish a food allergy from more common problems such as food intolerance, indigestion or other conditions.
If your reaction to a certain food becomes more than an inconvenience or the symptoms are severe, talk with your doctor. Tests can help diagnose food allergies, and you can take precautions to help prevent serious and even life-threatening responses to consuming culprit foods.
(Source: Mayo Clinic, on the web at www.mayoclinic.com)