The term “allergy” refers to an immune response the body generates when it encounters certain allergens. Examples of allergens include pollen, mold, dust, pet dander, and certain foods (peanuts, for example).
A “sensitivity” or “intolerance” refers to a reaction a person has to a certain food, food additive, or substance that mimics an allergic reaction but isn’t actually generated by the immune system. Examples of this include lactose intolerance and sensitivity to MSG in Chinese food.
Common symptoms of a sensitivity mimic allergic reactions and can include:
-itching or tingling of the mouth
-difficulty breathing
-abdominal pain, gas, and bloating
-flushing, feeling warm
If you think you have an allergy or sensitivity to something it can be helpful to keep a diary of what symptoms you experience and when. This can help to narrow down the list of what you may be reacting to.