Allergy Myths (Part One)
Thursday 3rd April
There are lots of conflicting advice and guidance available about allergies but we’re here to help set the record straight! Take a look at some of the most common myths about allergies – and the facts behind them.
Are allergies psychological?
Allergies are very real and in some cases can be potentially life-threatening. They can be defined as the body’s reaction to a substance that, for most of us, is harmless. The immune system, believing it is being attacked, responds by producing antibodies.
Whilst the mind can play a role in exacerbating symptoms, the main cause will usually be rooted in the environment (or, for example, can run in your family.) Common allergens can include pollen, house dust mites, mould and pets.
Does eating organic food make you less likely to have an allergic reaction?
No. Eating only organic food is no guarantee that you will avoid a food allergy. Allergies are not caused simply by the chemicals used when growing the food, but by the actual proteins in the food. Unprocessed foods such as eggs, peanuts, wheat and shellfish are amongst the most common foods which people are allergic to.
Can you develop new allergies after childhood?
Yes. Whilst allergies often begin in childhood, you can develop allergies as an adult too. Food allergies are often more common in younger children but whilst many will grow out of allergies as they get older, you can still develop a food allergy as an adult.
A change in your environment or the introduction of a new food into your diet for example can have an effect. Stress may also be a consideration, as this can impact on your immune system.
For further information have a read of this article.
If a food disagrees with me it must be an allergic reaction?
No. There are a variety of problems unrelated to allergies which can arise after eating specific foods. For example, you may have a food intolerance (such as lactose or milk intolerance) which can result in a delayed reaction (e.g. bloating or diarrhoea).
People who have allergies can have a bad reaction even if they come into contact with a very small amount of the food they are allergic to, whereas those with an intolerance may still be able to eat smaller quantities of that food without seeing an adverse reaction.