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Food Allergy or Intolerance?

 Many people think they are allergic to a food when in fact they are intolerant. Unlike food allergies, intolerances do not involve the body’s immune system. Slower in onset and not life threatening, food intolerance symptoms include headaches, bloating, wind, nausea, mouth ulcers or hives.

Symptoms that occur several hours after a food is eaten are more often as a result of an intolerance or enzyme deficiency rather than a food allergy.

A food allergy is not:

  • The inability to digest a food;

  • An aversion to a food (disliking a food);

  • Food poisoning;

  • A reaction to a food additive.

pdfFood Allergy Basics477.96 KB 

A&AA food allergy help sheet

pdfFood Intolerance523.07 KB

A&AA food intolerance help sheet

pdfCompare the difference1.73 MB 

A&AA compare food allergy and intolerance help sheet

 Content updated January 2017

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Being diagnosed with a potentially severe allergy is scary. But don’t worry, you’re not alone – help and support is available.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia is a national support group for people caring for or at risk of anaphylaxis. Learn more...

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Check out our Life stages section for more specific information.

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