Allergies Archives - Lifelab Testing

Avocado Allergy Guide

Avocados are a popular fruit used in salads, brunches, sandwiches and guacamole. They offer a range of health benefits, as they are high in fibre, healthy fat and nutrients. However, for some people, avocados trigger uncomfortable intolerance or allergy symptoms. Within this guide, we will discuss the difference between an avocado allergy and intolerance, including symptoms and methods of testing.

Are avocado allergies common?

Avocado allergies are uncommon, and are not considered one of the most common allergens in the UK. There are two main causes of this allergy, latex fruit syndrome and oral allergy syndrome.

Oral allergy syndrome

Fruits and vegetables that grow near pollen can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to pollen. Your body can mistake certain proteins in avocados as pollen which generates symptoms for those who have a pollen allergy. As explained in the name, most symptoms in this case occur orally through swelling or itchiness of the mouth, lips or throat.

Latex fruit syndrome

Most common cases of avocado allergy are among those who are also allergic to latex. This phenomenon is called latex fruit syndrome, which occurs because the proteins within latex are similar to those in fruits and vegetables. Therefore, people who are allergic to latex may experience symptoms after consuming certain foods, especially banana, kiwi, chestnut and avocado. It is estimated that 30-50% of individuals who are allergic to latex also experience symptoms when eating plant-based fresh foods. Allergy to avocado without latex sensitisation or oral allergy syndrome is rare, but has been documented before.

Avocado nut allergy

There is not a strong cross-reactivity between nuts and avocados, yet it has been suggested that avocados and chestnuts may both cause symptoms as explained previously by latex fruit syndrome.

Avocado allergies symptoms

Avocado food allergy symptoms include:

  • Hives or rash.
  • Tightness of the throat.
  • Wheezing.
  • Itchiness and swelling of the mouth or throat.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Itchy, watering eyes.

For people who have a severe avocado allergy, there is the chance that consumption could result in anaphylaxis. These symptoms include breathing difficulties, severe asthma, and swelling of the throat which should be taken seriously. If the person experiencing these symptoms owns an adrenaline auto-injector this should be used, and an ambulance should be called as soon as possible.

If you’re unsure if avocado is the cause of your allergy symptoms, you are advised to undertake an allergy test. Through using this at home allergy test, your blood sample will be tested against 38 common allergens. This way you can rule out the main causes of allergies, since avocado is a very rare allergy your symptoms could be caused by a different food item.

Avocado allergies in babies

Avocado is a great food for babies since it has many health benefits and is a perfect texture when ripe. Avocado allergy in babies is rare, yet when introducing new foods into your baby’s diet you should always be cautious. If your baby has experienced allergy symptoms after eating banana, you should be more wary and monitor them closely after trying avocado due to latex fruit allergy.

Allergy symptoms in babies include:

  • Hives or rash.
  • Itching.
  • Red, watery eyes.
  • Wheezing or coughing.

Avocado intolerance

An intolerance is most commonly caused by lacking the enzyme required to digest the problem food, in this case avocados. Therefore it is a digestive response, in comparison to an allergy which is an immune response, indicating the key difference between the two issues.

It is also possible that individuals are intolerant to histamine that is contained within the avocado. In this instance, people will experience symptoms if they eat a food that contains a lot of histamine.

You can test for intolerances from the comfort of your home with our complete intolerance test, which analyses your sample against avocado specifically as well as 158 other potential triggers. From this test, you will be able to get a clearer overview of your health and begin to make changes to prevent symptoms for good.

Avocado intolerance symptoms

If you are intolerant to avocado, common symptoms you may experience are:

  • Stomach pain and gas.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Bloating.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Heartburn or indigestion.

Avocado intolerance stomach pain relief

If you are suffering from stomach pain as a result of an intolerance, it is likely that your symptoms will subside once the food has exited your body. While you are feeling the pain, if it’s safe for you to do so you can take pain killers. Otherwise, you could try a hot water bottle or drink some chamomile tea to ease discomfort.

Avocado alternatives

If you’re looking to substitute avocados in your diet,it’s beneficial to consider what functionyour avocado was serving.If you want to replicate the mild flavour and texture, then avocado alternative options include:

  • Mashed banana.
  • Plantains.
  • Nut butters.
  • Hummus.

However, be cautious if you do replace avocados for bananas, as there is a chance you willexperience the same symptoms due to latex fruit syndrome discussed previously.

Final thoughts on avocado allergy and intolerance

If you believe you have an allergy or intolerance to avocado, the first step is to confirm this with a test kit. Despite being a rare intolerance, our intolerance test even tests for avocado as well as 158 other items. If you’re unsure of which test to order, or you have further queries, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with a helpful member of our customer service team.

Milk Allergy vs Lactose Intolerance: What’s the Difference

Milk is a common ingredient in our meals, especially curries and stews. However, consuming milk can be dangerous if one suffers from a milk allergy and bothersome if one suffers from lactose intolerance. Milk allergy and lactose intolerance are very common conditions, especially in infants. Approximately 2% to 3% of children below three years suffer from milk allergy. However, this isn’t a lifelong issue since more than 80% of children outgrow this allergy before they turn sixteen.

Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are often categorised as the same condition, even though both affect different body parts and have varying symptoms. Milk allergy is a broad term, whereas lactose intolerance is quite specific because it involves milk sugar. In contrast, milk allergy is caused by an immune reaction to proteins present in milk. Within this guide, we will go into further detail about the differences between milk allergy and lactose intolerance, including how to test for these conditions.

Milk allergy

When you suffer from a milk allergy, it’s because your body mistakes milk proteins as invaders, which causes the immune system to act by attacking these proteins, thus resulting in severe symptoms sometimes. When your immune system assumes there areinvaders in the body, it sends forth other substances, which often result in those milk allergy symptoms you might experience. Unlike lactose intolerance, milk allergy can be life-threatening in rare cases. So, if one has a milk allergy, it is best to avoid all dairy products or any products containing milk.

Milk allergy symptoms

Most people who are allergic to milk suffer from cow’s milk allergy. However, it is common to be allergic to milk from other mammals like buffalo, sheep, and goats. Symptoms of milk allergy vary from one person to another, meaning one individual may have mild symptoms but others will find consumption potentially life-threatening. Some of the most immediate symptoms after consumption of milk products include:

  • Hives.
  • Wheezing.
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Itchiness or a tingling feeling around the lips or mouth.
  • Coughing or shortness of breath.
  • Vomiting.

Some milk allergy symptoms may take a little bit longer to show. These include:

  • Loose stools or diarrhoea, which may contain blood.
  • Runny nose.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Colic, in babies.

Baby milk allergy

Most baby formulas contain cow’s milk. If you have a child, you will notice the first symptoms of milk allergy days to weeks after introducing the milk-based formula {1}. Milk allergy has a rare occurrence in breastfed children. Milk allergy symptoms vary between infants, and even though the first reaction may be mild, the next one could be severe and life-threatening, so you should keep a keen eye on their symptoms. The most common signs of milk allergy in babies include:

  • Skin reactions (itchiness, redness, swelling around the face).
  • Digestive problems (like diarrhoea, constipation, stomach ache, colic, or vomiting).
  • Hay fever symptoms.
  • Eczema.

Luckily, most children find they no longer suffer from milk allergy as they grow older. When your child has immediate symptoms like swelling in the mouth or throat, cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and noisy breathing, it is life-threatening anaphylaxis, and you should call the emergency services for help. If you have an EpiPen, you can use it on your baby and then go to the hospital because sometimes symptoms of anaphylaxis reoccur within hours of the first symptoms. It would be wise for your child to stay under observation. If your child has a milk allergy, it is recommended to have an EpiPen in case of emergencies.

Difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy

Lactose intolerance is mainly caused due to insufficient lactase enzyme, thus affecting the digestive system and causing gastrointestinal symptoms. Milk allergy, however, involves the immune system. This means that the immune system mistakes milk proteins for bacteria or viruses, thus releasing histamines which create symptoms of milk allergy. A difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy is that one affects the immune system while the other impacts the digestive tract.

Lactose intolerance can cause uncomfortable symptoms, but it can’t be life-threatening unlike milk allergy. In rare cases, milk allergy results in anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition. In contrast, lactose intolerance is caused by lactose, a sugar in milk. Milk allergy results from an immune response to proteins present in milk.

Lactose intolerance

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Our Complete Intolerance Test.

Lactose intolerance is a condition affecting the gastrointestinal tract upon consumption of milk and dairy products. Dairy products contain a sugar known as lactase. People suffering from lactose intolerance tend to have insufficient lactase enzymes in their bodies. The lactase enzyme is what digests lactose. So, when you have inadequate lactase enzymes in your body, the sugar in milk isn’t digested in your small intestines as it should be but is instead moved to your colon. When in the colon, undigested lactose is broken down by bacteria causing bloating, gas, and diarrhoea, which can be very uncomfortable but not dangerous—most symptoms of lactose intolerance centre around the gastrointestinal tract {2}.

Lactose intolerance symptoms

Lactose intolerance and milk allergy share some gastrointestinal symptoms. You may notice that the symptoms vary from one person to the next when suffering from lactose intolerance. Common signs of lactose intolerance include:

  • Diarrhoea.
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Bloating.
  • Gas.

How long do lactose intolerance symptoms last?

Since lactose intolerance symptoms mostly happen in the digestive tract, it takes around thirty minutes to two hours for the symptoms to start showing after consuming dairy. These symptoms can last as long as there is dairy in the digestive tract. Once you’ve passed it all out, which can take up to 48 hours, the symptoms will stop. The mildness or severity of lactose intolerance symptoms varies from one individual to the next.

What happens if you ignore lactose intolerance?

Milk contains proteins, calcium, and vitamins A, B12, and D. Lactose also serves as a tool that helps you absorb other essential minerals such as zinc and magnesium. If you keep consuming lactose even though you know of your intolerance, this may affect your health. You will experience worsened symptoms of lactose intolerance, reduced quality of life, and lower mood.

When you have chronic diarrhoea as a result of lactose intolerance, this may lead to anaemia, malnutrition, and unhealthy weight loss. You may risk developing:

  • Osteoporosis: A condition where weak and thin bones can easily break.
  • Osteopenia: A condition where one has low bone mineral density. If untreated, it can result in osteoporosis.
  • Malnutrition: A condition where the food you eat doesn’t provide you with essential nutrients for healthy body functioning.

The primary way to avoid developing these conditions is by avoiding anything with lactose and focusing on supplementing calcium. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones. There are various alternative sources of calcium in plant-based foods which you can look into. Finding alternative food sources helps you keep your diet balanced and your body healthy.

Can you develop lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is very common among adults. Many humans cease producing enough lactase to digest milk between ages 2 and 5. Unlike milk allergy, lactose intolerance isn’t a true allergy, and you can develop it at any age. Sometimes people develop lactose intolerance because of the presence of other diseases, while at times, it develops without any triggers present. Lactose intolerance has been seen as most present in those of Asian, African, Mexican, and Native American descent.

Diseases that often cause lactose intolerance injure the intestines’ cell lining, which can affect the body’s lactase production, hence lactose intolerance. Such diseases include:

  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Gastroenteritis.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Celiac disease.
  • Antibiotics or other medications.
  • Surgery.

Home lactose intolerance test

If you believe your symptoms point towards an intolerance, you can order a comprehensive Intolerance Test. This home-lab test will prevent you from going back and forth to the lab, as you can complete the test at home then send off your blood sample. Your sample will enter our laboratory for testing, and within a week, you’ll get your results. We test against 159 food and drink items, including milk, goat milk, sheep milk and soy milk. Before taking this test, however, you need to consult your doctor to see if you’re suffering from any underlying diseases, as some other conditions can cause lactose intolerance.

If your symptoms seem more similar to those of a milk allergy, then you can order your milk Allergy Test. This test will check for allergies that you may have in your body, and you’ll get back your results within a week. If you may have any other food allergies with symptoms similar to those of a milk allergy, then you will know through this test. You can, however, take an Allergy and Intolerance Test if you aren’t sure whether you’re suffering from a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. This combined test will give you the clarity you need.

Milk alternatives

You need to reduce your dairy intake to avoid lactose intolerance symptoms. You can do so by purchasing milk alternatives instead of cow’s milk, which are found in most supermarkets. These include:

  • Flax milk.
  • Soy milk.
  • Rice milk.
  • Almond milk.
  • Coconut-based milk.
  • Cashew milk.
  • Hazelnut milk.
  • Hemp milk.
  • Oat milk.

References

1. Goldman, A. S., Anderson Jr, D. W., Sellers, W. A., Saperstein, S., Kniker, W. T., & Halpern, S. R. (1963). Milk allergy: I. Oral challenge with milk and isolated milk proteins in allergic children. Pediatrics, 32(3), 425-443.

2.Swagerty Jr, D. L., Walling, A., & Klein, R. M. (2002). Lactose intolerance. American family physician, 65(9), 1845.

The 14 Common Allergens

Food allergies occur when you consume allergen foods that your immune systems mistakes for harmful substances. Your body will then release chemicals such as histamines which cause inflammation and thus symptoms of allergy. It doesn’t matter the amount of food you consume with the allergen. You’ll still experience allergy symptoms within a few minutes to a few hours of consumption.

Since there are many common allergens in foods we consume daily, the way allergens are labelled on pre-packed foods has changed. The Food Information Regulation, born in December 2014, also introduced a regulation that food businesses must provide information about allergenic ingredients in any foods they sell {1}. In the UK, there is a list of 14 allergens (which we list in this article) that sellers must list if used in any of their products {2}.

There are mainly 14 common allergens in the UK. The 14 main allergens include:

Gluten and wheat

A wheat allergy occurs when one’s immune system responds to the proteins in wheat. Most children suffer from wheat allergy but tend to outgrow it once they reach ten years of age. On the other hand, gluten allergy or celiac disease occurs when one has an abnormal immune reaction to gluten present in many grains, including wheat. So, when suffering from a gluten allergy or celiac disease, you’ll also need to avoid grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats. These are often found in flour, baking powder, batter, breadcrumbs, cakes, couscous, meat products, pasta, pastry, sauces, soups, and fried food.

What to look for in food labels

Wheat, Kamut, Einkorn, Faro, Durum wheat, Semolina, Spelt, Barley, Rye, Oat, Malt, and Couscous

Common foods with gluten

Bread, Baked goods, Baking mixes, Condiments, Chocolates, Sauces, Pasta, Crackers, Cereals

Sulphites/Sulphur Dioxide

Mostly you’ll find sulphites are mostly added to beverages and canned foods to make them last longer. However, some foods like aged cheese and grapes naturally contain sulphates. People with asthma are likely to develop this allergy.

What to look for in food labels

Sulphur, E150b Caustic sulphite caramel, E150d Sulphite ammonia caramel

 Sulphur Dioxide, Sulphite, Sulphites, Dithionite, Metabisulphite, Sulphiting agents, Potassium bisulphite, Metabisulphite, Sodium bisulphite, E220 Sulphur dioxide, E224 Potassium metabisulphite, E221 Sodium sulphite, E222 Sodium hydrogen sulphite, Sulphurous acid, E223 Sodium metabisulphite, E226 Calcium sulphite, E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite

Common foods with sulphites or sulphur oxide

Pickled foods and vinegar, Beer, wine and cider, Dried fruit eg dried apricots, prunes, raisins etc., Maraschino cherries, Tinned coconut milk, Guacamole, Dehydrated, pre-cut or peeled potatoes, Vegetable juices, Bottled lemon juice and lime juice, Some soft drinks, Grape juice, Condiments (bottled sauces etc.), Fresh or frozen prawns, Some processed meat products

Celery

An allergy to celery includes celery leaves, stalks, seeds and the root called celeriac. Celery is present celery in celery salt, salads, meat products, soups and stock cubes.

What to look for in food labels

Celery seed, Celery leaf, Celery salt, Celeriac or Celeriac, Celery stalk

Common foods with celery

Vegetable juice, marmite, savoury snacks, sausages, curry, spice mixes, soups, bouillon, processed meat products, and prepared salads

Crustaceans

Crustaceans mostly have hard shells and walk around with jointed legs. These include Crabs, lobster, prawns and scampi. The most common one among them is shrimp paste used in Thai and Southeast Asian cooking.

What to look for in food labels

Amphipods, barnacles, crabs, mussel shrimp, mysids, hermit crabs, crayfish, isopods, lobsters, mantis shrimp, sea spiders, shrimp, and prawns

Common foods with crustaceans

Paella, Chinese products, Soups, Asian Salad, Thai Curry, Prepared sauces, Fried rice, Fish paste, Fish Soup

Egg

Egge allergies are pretty common, especially in children. It is the second most common allergy in children {1}.

What to look for in food labels

Albumin, livetin, lysozyme, mayonnaise, meringue, meringue powder, apovitellin, egg yolk, egg wash, eggnog, cholesterol-free dried egg solids, dried egg, egg substitute, egg, egg white, fat substitutes, globulin, ovalbumin, powdered eggs, silici albuminate, ovoglobulin, ovomucin, ovomucoid, ovotransferrin, ovovitelia, ovovitellin, simplesse, surimi, trailblazer, vitellin, and whole egg

Common foods with eggs

Meringue, Marshmallow, Artificial flavouring, Egg glazed pastry, Some ice cream, Baked goods, Lecithin, Natural flavourings, Nougat, Pasta, Salad dressing, Mayonnaise, Marzipan, Tartare Sauce, Hollandaise, Cakes, Some custard

Fish

Fish allergies are pretty common, affecting around 7% of the population. You’ll find that some individuals develop a fish allergy in adulthood too. Fish allergies result from finned fish like tuna, salmon, catfish, and cod. You can be allergic to finned fish and not shellfish since these two have varying proteins that result in allergens.

What to look for in food labels

Anchovies, perch, scrod, swordfish, sole, pike, pollock, bass, catfish, snapper, tilapia, trout, cod, flounder, grouper, haddock, hake, halibut, herring, Mahi Mahi, salmon, and tuna

Common foods with fish

Barbecue sauce, caesar salad and caesar dressing, soups, barbecue sauce, caponata, pizza, Worcestershire sauce, bouillabaisse, meatloaf, imitation or artificial fish or shellfish), a Sicilian eggplant relish, num pla, dips, gelatine, and relishes.

Lupin

Even though lupin is a flower, it’s also found in flour. You can use lupin flour and seeds in some bread, pastries, and pasta.

What to look for in food labels

Lupine, Lupin flour, Lupin seed, and Lupin bean

Common foods with lupin

Pies, products containing crumbs, pizzas, waffles, pastry cases, pancakes, crepes, vegetarian meat substitutes, and deep-coated vegetables such as onion rings

Milk

Milk allergy is mostly the first seen in children, and while some outgrow this allergy, others don’t. It is also possible to develop milk allergy in adulthood. Proteins like whey and casein are most responsible for an allergic reaction in those suffering from milk allergies.

What to look for in food labels

Butter, cheese, cream, milk powders, yoghurt, margarine, cream, and ice cream.

Common foods with milk

Yoghurt, Natural flavouring, Milk, Milk powder, Buttermilk, Butter, Ghee, Flavouring, Caramel flavouring, High protein flour, Chocolate, Instant Mash, Rice cheese, Soy cheese, Cream, Lactic acid starter culture, Ice Cream, Cheese, Custard, and Margarine

Mustard

Mustard seeds contain a primary allergen known as “Sin a 1.” This allergen is still present even when in cooked food. However, brown mustard has a different allergen called “Bra j 1.” Most people allergic to mustard are also allergic to rapeseed.

What to look for in food labels

Mustard seeds, Mustard powder, Mustard flour, Mustard leaves, Mustard oil, Sprouted mustard seeds

Common foods with mustard

Sausages and processed meat products, Cumberland Sauce, Ketchup, tomato sauce, Spices, flavouring or seasoning, Chutneys, Soups, Sauces, Chutney, Piccalilli, Salad dressing, Indian foods, Vegetables with vinegar, Dehydrated soups, Salad Dressings (vinaigrettes and cruditées), Barbecue Sauce, Curry Sauce, Béarnaise Sauce, Mayonnaise, Pesto, Gravies, Marinades, Chutneys pickles and other pickled products

Mollusc

Molluscs include land snails, mussels, squid, and whelks but can also be found in oyster sauce, a common ingredient in fish stews.

What to look for in food labels

Oysters, Snails, Clams and cockles, Abalone, Squid, Scallops, Mussels, Mussels, Octopus, Oysters

Common foods with mollusc

Ethnic Food, Mussel dishes, Soups, Sauces, Scallops, Calamari

Tree Nut

Most people suffering from peanut allergies often have more tree nut allergies. Tree nuts grow on trees, unlike peanuts which flourish underground. Examples include cashew nuts, almonds and hazelnuts.

What to look for in food labels

Almond, Walnuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Pecan Nuts, Brazil Nuts, Pistachio Nuts, Macadamia or Queensland Nuts.

Common foods with tree nut

Nut butter, chocolates, salad dressings, bbq sauce, chocolate spread, artificial flavouring, baked goods, mortadella, natural flavouring, nougat, pesto, pesto, crackers, and desserts.

Peanuts

Peanut allergies affect a vast population of people worldwide. Peanuts are also called groundnuts because they’re legumes that grow underground, which is why they’re also known as groundnuts. Often, peanuts are the most common cause of anaphylaxis.

What to look for in food labels

Extruded or expelled peanut oil, mixed nuts, nut pieces, crushed nuts, ground nuts, monkey nuts, beer nuts, nut meat, Arachis oil, kernels, peanut protein, peanut butter chips, peanut butter morsels, arachic oil, cold pressed, crushed peanuts, Arachis, Arachis hypogaea, artificial nuts, beer nuts, boiled peanuts, earth nuts, goober peas, ground nuts, hydrolyzed peanut protein, ground peanuts, mandelonas, nutmeat, peanut butter, peanut flour, peanut paste, peanut sauce, peanut syrup, and Virginia peanuts.

Common foods with peanuts

Graham cracker crust, hydrolyzed plant protein, artificial flavouring, baked goods, candy, chilli, chocolate, crumb toppings, egg rolls, enchilada sauce, ethnic foods: African, Thai, Vietnamese, Asian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Mexican, fried foods, flavouring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavouring, marzipan, mole sauce, nougat.

Sesame

You’ll find sesame seeds in baked foods or used to make certain dips. Sesame is often sprinkled on buns used to make hamburgers and in other foods like breadsticks, houmous, sesame oil and tahini.

What to look for on food label

Sesame seeds, Sesame oil, Gingelly, Gingelly oil, Benne, Benne seed

Common foods with sesame

Bread, tahini butter, soups, marinades, chutney, crackers, dressings, toasts, dips, hummus, sauces,

Soya

Soya is commonly consumed around the world. It contains lots of protein and is thus good, especially for vegans, plant-based and vegetarians.

What to look for on food labels

bean curd, edamame beans, miso pates, textured soya protein, soya flour, tofu

Common foods containing soya

Soy milk, Soy oil, Bean sprouts, Canned tuna, Surimi, Natural flavouring, Artificial flavouring, Hydrolyzed plant protein, Asian foods (e.g. Japanese, Chinese, Thai, etc.), Baked goods, Soy sauce, Tamari sauce, Teriyaki sauce, Miso, Vegetable broth, Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), Vegetable gum, Vegetable starch

Allergy symptoms

Symptoms of food allergies include:

  • Hives
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
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Our Basic Allergy Test Kit.

In rare cases, food allergies can be life-threatening, leading to a severe condition known as anaphylaxis. Even though most symptoms of food allergies only result in skin reactions and digestive issues, anaphylaxis can also happen in rare cases, mostly in peanut allergy cases. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

constricted airways in the lungs

Low Blood pressure and shock

Swelling of the throat and larynx

Most symptoms of anaphylaxis start mild and become life-threatening within minutes of happening. When one suffers from anaphylaxis, you must use an EpiPen on them, and if they don’t have one, you need to contact emergency medical services.

Food allergy test

If you suspect you have food allergies, you may need to go to your doctor and see whether the symptoms you’re witnessing could result from underlying conditions. You’ll need to take an Allergy Test home test kit if everything is ruled out. Sometimes figuring out which food is causing you allergy symptoms can be difficult because we consume different foods simultaneously. An allergy test kit will show you which foods you’re allergic to so you can avoid them.

References

  1. https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/about-anaphylaxis/14-major-food-allergens/
  2. https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/top-allergy-types.pdf

Chickpea Allergy Guide

Chickpeas, or Garbanzo beans, are dried seeds called pulses. Chickpeas belong to the legumes family and are an essential food source to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is also a common source of protein for those following vegetarian and plant-based diets. In the UK, chickpeas are primarily consumed in hummus and falafel as core ingredients. The most commonly consumed types of legumes are lentils, chickpea, beans, and peas. The most common legume allergy is lentils, followed by chickpeas {1}.

Even though chickpeas allergy exists, it’s not as common as other allergies such as milk and eggs. Common symptoms of chickpea allergy include skin reactions and, in severe cases, anaphylactic shock. Even though an uncommon allergy, chickpea allergy can be severe and life-threatening. Within this guide, we will discuss chickpea allergy as well as intolerance, and methods of testing.

What is chickpea allergy?

As with all food allergies, chickpea allergy occurs in extreme cases when one eats or touches this legume. Upon proteins in chickpeas getting into the bloodstream, the immune system treats them like invaders. Certain proteins in chickpeas like globulin, albumin, and prolamin are retained even after cooking, and they’re the cause of allergic reactions. Once your body assumes these proteins are harmful invaders, it makes proteins called IgE antibodies. These antibodies then attach themselves to the proteins leading to the release of chemicals known as histamines. The production of histamines is what causes chickpea allergy symptoms.

Chickpea allergy symptoms

Chickpea allergy symptoms are similar to those of other food allergies. You’ll notice that symptoms appear soon after consuming chickpeas or in a few hours. The severity of chickpea allergy symptoms varies from one person to the next. While some people have mild symptoms, others have severe and intense symptoms. Common chickpea allergy symptoms include:

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Our Basic Allergy Test
  • Burning or tingling in your mouth.
  • Itchy mouth.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Nausea.
  • Swelling in the mouth, throat, face, or other body parts.
  • Throwing up.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Red, itchy skin without bumps.
  • Sneezing.
  • Itchy eyes.
  • Wheezing.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Itchy, red, raised bumps called hives.

Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain which food item is causing your allergy symptoms, since there can be many ingredients in food products. Because of this, taking an allergy test is beneficial to rule out different foods and get an indicator of which items your body doesn’t agree with.

Chickpea allergy cross-reactivity

When suffering from chickpea allergy, it is possible to experience allergy symptoms when eating foods processed or cooked in the same environment or facility as chickpeas. These foods can be contaminated with chickpea protein leading to cross-contamination.

Cross-reactivity also occurs when you eat foods that contain proteins similar to those in the one you’re allergic to. For example, if you have a chickpeas allergy, you can have cross-reactivity to foods like {2}:

  • Green peas.
  • Kidney beans.
  • Fava beans.
  • Fenugreek.
  • Black-eyed peas.
  • Peanuts.
  • Black beans.
  • Haricot beans.

Therefore, it’s important to be aware if you’re trying a different legume, you may experience the same symptoms.

Chickpea allergy in babies

Usually, food allergies develop within the first year of life. Because of this, you will likely notice a chickpea allergy when you begin to introduce baby food containing the food item into your child’s diet. Chickpea allergy in babies shows up within a few minutes upto two hours of consuming these legumes. Symptoms of chickpea allergy in babies may appear after inhalation during cooking, touching, or oral ingestion. If your baby is allergic to chickpeas, you’ll notice similar symptoms to the ones listed above. Common symptoms include skin redness, hives, rashes, and inflammation. In some cases, chickpea symptoms can worsen, and anaphylaxis can occur, a very severe condition that, if not treated, may be life-threatening. If your child suffers from chickpea allergy, you must have an EpiPen to carry at all times in case of an emergency.

Chickpea intolerance

Even if you don’t suffer from chickpea allergy, you may experience symptoms because of chickpea intolerance. Chickpeas intolerance arises when we lack the enzyme required to digest it. This leads to fermentation in the large intestines and gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and stomach ache. Unlike chickpea allergy, chickpea intolerance isn’t life-threatening, nor does it trigger the immune system. The symptoms can be uncomfortable and diminish your quality of life, but they won’t threaten it. You can learn more about the difference between a good allergy and food intolerance.

We do not possess the enzymes required to break down certain FODMAPS, and chickpeas are among those. Chickpeas are made up of oligosaccharides. These sugars can also be found in foods like rye, onions, and garlic. This means that chickpeas can easily pass through the mouth, stomach, and small intestines without breaking down. Upon arrival in the large intestines, they ferment, causing you a lot of discomfort.

If you have an intolerance but want to continue eating chickpeas, the best way to reduce the chances of symptoms is by soaking them overnight. This reduces the sugars in them significantly, preventing you from having gas problems. Another way to help your stomach, too, would be to supplement the enzyme that could aid in the digestion of chickpeas. Supplementation allows you to consume chickpeas and not suffer gastrointestinal issues.

When you’re suffering from certain digestive tract diseases, it is wise to avoid chickpeas as they may worsen your condition and symptoms. These conditions include:

  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Diverticulitis.
  • Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.
  • Lactose intolerance.
  • Hirschsprung disease.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.

Chickpea Intolerance Symptoms

The severity or mildness of chickpea intolerance symptoms varies from one individual to the next. The most common symptoms include:

  • Bloating.
  • Headaches.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Excessive gas.

If you’re unsure which food is causing your intolerance symptoms, we recommend you order a complete intolerance test, which analyses your sample against 159 food items. Your results will indicate which items could be causing you issues, so you can begin to make lifestyle changes, starting with an elimination diet.

References

1. Martínez San Ireneo, M., Ibáñez, M. D., Sánchez, J. J., Carnés, J., & Fernández-Caldas, E. (2008). Clinical features of legume allergy in children from a Mediterranean area. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, 101(2), 179–184. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1081-1206(10)60207-4

2. Bar-El Dadon, S., Pascual, C. Y., & Reifen, R. (2014). Food allergy and cross-reactivity-chickpea as a test case. Food chemistry, 165, 483–488. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.05.138

Common Child Allergies & Intolerances

Food allergies are common in both children and adults, where around 5% of children under five suffer from food allergies. The prevalence of food allergies has been on the rise. From 1997 to 2007, food allergies in children under 18 years increased by 18%. Even though some children outgrow food allergies before their teen years, allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and fish may be lifelong. Identifying food allergies in children is very important as it prevents them from suffering from severe symptoms that could harm their health and well-being. Allergies can also affect a child’s nutrient intake and growth {1}. Allergies can also be life-threatening because they can sometimes cause a condition known as anaphylaxis which needs immediate medical attention.

Around 90% of food allergies are caused by eight common foods, which we will go into more detail below. Read on to find out the most common child allergies and intolerances, including symptoms and testing.

Common child allergies

Food allergies can present in infants even when the mother is breastfeeding. This is because the child reacts to foods the mother has eaten. Therefore, it may be necessary for a mother to remove food items from their diet to prevent their baby from experiencing symptoms. When a mother eliminates these foods from their diet, it relieves the child, preventing further complications. It is common for children to develop allergies once they start weaning as they react to the foods being introduced to their systems for the first time. Even feeding a child milk powder can cause an allergic reaction, considering the primary ingredient in the milk powder is cow’s milk.

There are certain foods which cause approximately 90% of food allergies in children. These include:

  • Peanuts.
  • Milk.
  • Eggs.
  • Fish.
  • Shellfish (crab, lobster, crayfish, and shrimp).
  • Soy.
  • Tree nuts (for example, pecans, cashews, and walnuts).
  • Wheat.

Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish tend to be the most severe in children because they are most likely to develop life-threatening anaphylaxis. These four main food allergies are also the ones that tend to last for a lifetime. It is possible for children to outgrow allergies to milk, eggs, soy, and wheat, commonly during or before their teen years.

Children’s hayfever

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to allergens such as grass pollen. It is medically referred to as allergic rhinitis. During the warmer seasons, it is common to see children play outside, where they will inhale airborne pollen. A child’s pollen allergy triggers the mucous membrane, triggering hay fever allergy symptoms.

If a child has hay fever, you’ll notice they’ll start sneezing; experience laboured breathing, watery eyes, and runny nose. Hay fever in children occurs because their body’s immune system mistakes the pollen for “invaders” like bacteria. This causes the immune system to release substances such as histamines which often cause hay fever symptoms. There are different pollination seasons for various trees and grass. So, depending on which specific plants cause hay fever symptoms in your child, they may only experience symptoms if it’s a particular plant’s pollination season. It is therefore beneficial to identify which plant causes symptoms, which can be done through an allergy test which analyses a blood sample against different grasses.

Even though some children have easily identifiable hay fever symptoms, other kids don’t experience such visible symptoms, and their lives aren’t affected when it’s hay fever season. So, the severity of hay fever symptoms varies from one child to the next.

Food Allergies in children

As listed above, there are food allergies in children which are more common than others. We will now expand on these allergies and how they develop.

Peanuts and tree nuts

Peanuts are different from tree nuts because, as the name suggests, tree nuts are nuts that grow on trees, while peanuts grow beneath the ground. Even though children may have a peanut allergy, they may be able to tolerate tree nuts. Tree nuts include walnuts, almonds, hazel nuts, pecans, cashews, and Brazil nuts; all the nuts are in hard shells. Allergies to either tree nuts, peanuts, or both, can bring about a reaction known as anaphylaxis, which occurs within minutes of consuming these nuts and is life-threatening. Ensure that caregivers, teachers, and family members are aware of your child’s allergy. Nuts contain essential nutrients but aren’t a necessary part of a diet, so you can easily eliminate this from your child’s diet.

Milk

Milk is a common cause of allergies in infants. 2% of children under two years suffer from milk allergy {2}. Milk allergy in babies is common because this is the first allergen consumed in such huge amounts, especially if the child is being bottle-fed or formula. Most people who bottle feed their children often feed them with cow’s milk. However, a child can develop milk allergy simply from breastfeeding, but that’s less common. Once you have identified that milk is the cause of your baby’s symptoms, it is necessary to eliminate milk from your infant’s diet. Sheep and goat milk aren’t good alternatives because they contain the same allergens present in cow’s milk. Breastfeeding mothers should also eliminate dairy from their diet to prevent triggering their infants.

Babies’ most common milk allergy symptoms are colic and itchy, dry eczema. You may also notice that your baby vomits after drinking milk and also experiences diarrhoea and gassiness. You can substitute milk for soy milk or soy formula if they aren’t allergic to soy protein. If your child doesn’t tolerate soy, your paediatrician may recommend a specialised formula made of hydrolyzed protein and amino acid elemental formula.

As your child’s immune system develops, they might outgrow milk allergy, and you can introduce it back to their diet. However, you should only do so once you have verified that your child is allergy-free, by consulting their doctor. Milk is essential in a child’s diet as it helps form strong bones, muscles, and teeth. It also helps with nerve function and the health of every system in the body. For older children, you can ensure they get other food substitutes rich in calcium like:

  • Dark-green leafy vegetables.
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice.
  • Canned fish ate with the bones (e.g., sardines, salmon).
  • Dried figs and prunes.
  • Tofu.
  • Dried beans.

Eggs

The common protein in eggs that causes an allergic reaction is mainly found in egg whites. Even though your child can consume egg yolks, it is better to keep away from both because of possible contamination. Eggs contain essential proteins and nutrients but aren’t necessary for a balanced diet. You can substitute eggs for fish, dairy products, legumes, meat, and grains. Ensure you also check foods when grocery shopping for possible egg ingredients.

Fish and shellfish

Shellfish fall into two categories;

  • Crustaceans, like shrimp, crab, or lobster.
  • Mollusks, like clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, octopus, or squid.


People who are allergic to shellfish, will either experience symptoms when consuming foods from one group, or both. Most allergic reactions from shellfish result from someone consuming the shellfish, while others get reactions simply from inhaling the scent of shellfish cooking. Shellfish allergies usually last a lifetime; hence one needs to learn to avoid and manage them.

Fish allergy involves fish like tuna and cod. People with fish allergies can be allergic to one type of fish and not the other. Rarely people with a fish allergy can get a reaction from breathing in the scent of fish cooking or simply touching it. Therefore, most times, allergic reactions come from eating fish. Fish allergies often last a lifetime. The most common shellfish and fish allergy symptoms include wheezing, trouble breathing, coughing, hoarseness, throat tightness, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, itchy, watery, or swollen eyes, hives, red spots, swelling, a drop in blood pressure, and causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness (passing out). Allergic reactions can differ from one child to the next. If you notice your child is experiencing anaphylaxis, symptoms often include a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and trouble breathing. You need to call emergency medical services or rush to the nearest hospital, as this is life-threatening. If your child is breastfeeding, you may notice that your baby experiences symptoms when the mother eats certain foods, such as shellfish or fish. As a result, the mother needs to eliminate these from her diet.

Soy

If you start feeding your child soy baby formula, you may notice symptoms such as a rash, runny nose, wheezing, diarrhoea, or vomiting, which results from an allergic reaction to soy protein. It is possible that children allergic to cow’s milk can be allergic to soy too. Your paediatrician can recommend a low-allergenic formula that is safe for your baby to consume. Even with a soy allergy, it is possible to tolerate soy oil since it contains less protein.

Wheat

Oats and rice are the most common grains first introduced to children because they’re less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Once children show no allergic reaction to wheat, it is common to introduce wheat next. If your child is allergic to wheat proteins, you will notice hives and wheezing immediately upon consumption. Reactions to wheat can also be a symptom of celiac disease. If so, you’ll see symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, irritability, poor weight gain, and slow growth. You can observe signs of celiac disease shortly after your child has had their first bowl of cereal. It is common not to make a diagnosis until adulthood since some children can have the condition at a low level for years.

Pet allergy

You will notice symptoms such as wheezing, stuffy nose, and watery and itchy eyes as soon as your child comes in contact with a pet dander. It is also possible for your child to experience an asthma attack upon coming in contact with a cat or dog. Your child can experience symptoms by inhaling pet dander or coming in contact with pet saliva. This allergic reaction is due to the proteins found in animal skin cells, saliva, and urine. Some allergy therapy or allergy shots help kids with a pet allergy. Alternatively, you can stay in a pet-free home for their sake.

Kids’ allergy symptoms

basic-allergy-test-front
Our Basic Allergy Test.

It is expected that most allergies in children aren’t fully developed until the age of seven, which is why most kids outgrow their allergies earlier. If you think your child may be suffering from an allergy, you must talk to your doctor or their paediatrician. You can also get your child an Allergy Test. It is recommended to consult with your doctor before ordering a test, and is most suitable for children aged 7 and over. This child allergy testing for kids will check for all the common food allergies, pet allergies, and hay fever allergies. All you need to do is order the test kit, take the sample and send it back to the labs, where the sample will be tested against 38 common allergens, and you’ll get your results within a week.

The common allergy symptoms to look out for in children include:

  • Sneezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Itchy mouth/throat.
  • Watering eyes.
  • Wheezing or chest tightness.
  • Rashes.
  • Hives or swelling.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • In extreme cases, anaphylaxis.

Difference between allergy and intolerance

Even though it’s common to see the word “intolerance” and “allergy” interchanged, they are different conditions, and you’ll see why after reading this. A food allergy arises when you consume an allergen, and the immune system mistakes it for an invader, releasing histamines which result in allergy symptoms that we notice within minutes to two hours after consumption of the allergen. Food allergies mainly occur in children because their stomach lining isn’t fully developed yet.

Food intolerance, on the other hand, happens because your body lacks a certain enzyme necessary to digest the proteins in the food consumed. Upon lack of enough enzyme to digest said proteins, gastrointestinal symptoms manifest. These symptoms manifest because undigested food gets pushed into the large intestines, where it ferments and produces gas, causing constipation, gassiness, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. If you think your child may be suffering from food intolerance, you can use a home-lab Intolerance Test to check for possible food intolerances they may have.

Most of these symptoms of food intolerance cease to occur once you pass that food. However, in the case of allergies, symptoms such as hives and rashes take a while to stop appearing after taking medication. Unlike food allergies, food intolerances aren’t life-threatening but just uncomfortable. Allergy symptoms appear almost immediately after contact with an allergen, while food intolerance symptoms can take upto 48 hours to show. You can check more about the difference between a food allergy and an intolerance.

Food intolerance in children

Food intolerance is a reaction to the food one has consumed. Food intolerances result from the body lacking certain enzymes to break down the food proteins or the body reacting to chemicals in that food. Most people can tolerate small amounts of foods that they’re intolerant to. Symptoms of food intolerance are often delayed and can happen days to hours after food consumption.

The most common food intolerance in children includes gluten and lactose. Lactose is a sugar in milk, and most children find it hard to digest, hence lactose intolerance in children. Gluten, on the other hand, is a protein present in barley, wheat, and rye. Children are often exposed to gluten once they begin weaning since they’re exposed to items like biscuits, cereals, and bread which often contain gluten. Gluten intolerance in children isn’t life-threatening; your child won’t experience symptoms like anaphylaxis. However, the most common food intolerance symptoms include brain fog, headaches, migraines, dizziness, joint pain, and rashes on elbows, knees, buttocks, or the back of the neck.

Child intolerance test

If you notice gastrointestinal symptoms in your child, it most likely means that there is a food that they’re intolerant to. To narrow down the food intolerance your child is suffering from, you can take a home-lab child Intolerance Test. This test will check your child’s sample against 159 foods and drinks that could be causing intolerance symptoms. With the test comes a 30-minute free consultation with a nutritional therapist who will help you figure out the proper diet for your child that won’t result in weight loss or dietary deficiencies. Get your child tested today to prevent those simple intolerance symptoms from turning into severe cases.

References

1. Christie, L., Hine, R. J., Parker, J. G., & Burks, W. (2002). Food allergies in children affect nutrient intake and growth. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 102(11), 1648-1651.

2. Heine, R. G., Elsayed, S., Hosking, C. S., & Hill, D. J. (2002). Cow’s milk allergy in infancy. Current opinion in allergy and clinical immunology, 2(3), 217-225.

The Most Common Allergies in the UK

When compared with the rest of the world, the UK has some of the highest allergy rates you’ll find. This is perhaps unsurprising, given our far-stretching beautiful countryside is home to a wealth of fauna and flora, and less than 1% of the UK has been built on.

Which allergies, though, are the most common of all? And who do they affect?

Check out our graphic on allergies, or read on for more information.

Common UK Allergies Infographic

Common allergies in the UK

Identifying and detecting allergies in the UK

It’s important that we collectively get better at diagnosing and identifying allergies in the UK, as the number of patients admitted to hospital following an allergic reaction doubled between 2013 and 2020, reaching over 27,000 per year.

To increase the complexity of this equation further, more and more people are confusing allergy symptoms with COVID-19 symptoms; given there’s a lot of overlap when it comes to runny noses and sore throats. Read our insights on how to tell the difference between the two.

Allergies in children

Another interesting trend our research uncovered is that children with allergies are 80% likely to have two parents who are also allergic in some capacity.

So, if you’re noticing that your child may find allergens problematic, it may be worth you conducting an at-home allergy test to get a quick indicator of whether you, like many others, are also afflicted.

Hay fever

Our survey wouldn’t be complete without looking into the impacts of hayfever, one of the most common allergies in the UK. Most notably, we found that almost two thirds of adult hayfever sufferers felt their sleep was negatively impacted by their allergy with stuffy noses impacting breathing during the night.

This increased to 90% in children, and so antihistamines may be a prerequisite to a good night’s sleep for many.

Managing common allergies

One final insight we’d like to draw attention to is that almost a third of allergy sufferers reported that they have had to adjust their lifestyles to reduce their allergic reactions. This is a smart move, and the practical, actionable steps we’d advise taking include:

1. Properly diagnosing the allergy. You can do this by taking allergy and intolerance tests, and consulting with a GP for professional advice.
2. Adjusting your lifestyle or diet to minimise the chance of an allergic reaction.
3. If an allergy is inevitable, such as a seasonal allergy or hay fever, make sure you’re equipped to fight it as best you can.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our insights and that you’re on your way to comfortably managing your allergy. For more advice, check out our blog which is bursting with handy insights around everything from alcohol sensitivity to elimination diets.

Seasonal Allergies vs COVID-19

In the UK, every year thousands of people suffer from uncomfortable symptoms caused by a reaction to environmental allergens. Seasonal allergies, otherwise known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, are a common part of many people’s lives, yet recent circumstances have brought about challenges not faced before.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, it is now difficult to know whether you’re experiencing hay fever or COVID-19, as symptoms could overlap between the two. As a result, we’ve put together all the information you need to know about seasonal allergies vs COVID-19.

Check out our quick infographic guide below, or read more detail behind specific allergies and symptoms.

Allergies Versus COVID Infographic

Do I have COVID-19 or Seasonal Allergies

Common Allergy Types

Pollen Allergy

Pollen is the most common allergen thought to affect 1 in 5 people during their lifetime. This mainly occurs in Spring and Summer as plants release pollen, resulting in people experiencing an adverse immune response. Sometimes these reactions are to specific plants, such as a tree pollen allergy or grass pollen allergy.

Hay Fever

Hay fever is the body’s allergic response to environmental outdoor or indoor substances (mainly pollen) that are wrongfully identified as harmful. An allergic reaction to pollen is called hay fever.

How long does hay fever last?

Hay fever begins immediately after being exposed to an allergen, and symptoms will continue for as long as you are exposed.

When does hay fever season end?

Depending on where you live in the UK, allergies to pollen tend to occur from March to September, starting with tree pollen first and ending with weed pollen.

Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mites are tiny, microscopic bugs that exist in our homes in warm environments such as bedding, furniture, and carpeting. Although dust mites are perennial allergens and can impact people all year, symptoms can be worse during winter when there is less ventilation.

Mould Allergy

Like dust mites, allergy to mould can be experienced all year round, yet with less ventilation around the home in colder months, there may be more issues during this time.

Pet Dander Allergy

An allergy to pet dander is caused by the body reacting negatively to proteins in dead skin cells that are shed by animals. Suffering from a pet allergy is more common in those who also have asthma or hay fever. There are a few reasons why pet allergies may worsen during winter, including staying inside with your pet for longer, lack of ventilation in the house, and pets having thicker fur with winter coats.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are consistent whether you are reacting to pollen, dust, mould, or pet dander.

Seasonal allergies symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, runny, or blocked nose
  • Itchy watering eyes
  • Itchy ears or throat
  • Postnasal drip

COVID-19 Symptoms

People suffering from coronavirus have described experiencing symptoms that range from mild to severe.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • A fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • A continuous cough and sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • A loss or change to taste or smell
  • Aching body or headache

Is it seasonal allergies or COVID-19?

If you are wondering whether you have hay fever or coronavirus, there are distinctions between the two in terms of symptoms. Seasonal allergies tend to induce symptoms that are related to itchiness, such as an itchy nose, eyes, ears, or throat. On the other hand, COVID-19 symptoms are more cold-like so include a fever, headache and a change in taste or smell.

What do I do if I think I have an allergy?

If you are experiencing symptoms of an allergy and want to know what’s causing them, you can order an allergy test online. We’ll send you a simple blood spot test, then in our laboratory we’ll use your sample to test against 38 common allergens including house dust mites, different grasses and different types of dander.

We hope this guide had been useful in helping you differentiate between seasonal allergies and COVID-19. You can also learn more about different types of allergies by accessing tons of resources here.

How Could Living With Allergies Affect My Relationship?

Moving in together can be such a magical experience for couples, especially around this time of year. February means it’s time to light the candles, to sit down for a romantic meal at home with the one you love most; until disaster strikes! Suddenly, you discover your partner is living with allergies to some of your favourite foods, and you’re left reeling as you adjust to life without these dishes. For people living with allergies, this is a daily issue. Sadly, this is the reality for many couples who fail to adjust to life after discovering an allergy (1), and if you fear that this all too familiar story could become you and your partner, then it’s time to do something about it!

Understanding the basics.

Something that many couples may not consider when making the decision to live together is how each other’s allergies and intolerances may impact the types of food that both are consuming together on a daily basis. For some of the lucky ones, this may never be an issue. However, for others, it may be difficult to adjust to a new way of living without a certain type of food in the house. Especially where the most severe reactions for sufferers living with allergies could experience an anaphylactic reaction just from breathing in a particular substance, such as nuts or sesame seeds. (2) This Valentine’s Day, Lifelab Testing is committed to ensuring that you and your loved ones have the most comprehensive look at your allergies and intolerances possible, so that you can make smart and informed decisions about the food you choose to stock your shelves with to make your home an allergy-safe environment for everyone!

Living with Allergies in the 21st Century.

For some couples, adapting to a new situation such as the discovery of an allergy is a breeze, as you may not have enjoyed the foods causing reactions, or have no trouble compromising on food items for your partner’s sake. For others, though, discovering your partner has an allergy to common foods can be a difficult thing to accept. Especially if it is an item that has been incorporated into your diet for a long time, which makes early discovery absolutely essential. Adjusting to a new way of eating can take time, patience, and communication, but is vitally important for the sustainability of your relationship with your partner, especially if the allergy is potentially life-threatening.

What happens next?

Rarely, both people in the relationship will have the same trigger foods (3), which makes the elimination process far simpler and less stressful for the parties involved. In most situations, however, measures will have to be taken from a non-sufferer to protect the allergy sufferer in the relationship, but all hope is not lost! If the allergy is non-life threatening, there are a number of measures you can take in the home to keep the trigger foods away from the sufferer without losing the joy of enjoying that food yourself, such as:

  • Store trigger foods separately from all other foods.
  • Never cross-contaminate utensils preparing trigger foods when also preparing other foods.
  • Refrain from physical contact (kissing, touching etc.) with the allergy sufferer after the trigger food is consumed by a non-sufferer.

Get tested and live happier

It is always important to consider the needs of the sufferer when making a decision on whether to continue purchasing the trigger food, as well as how possible it is to avoid cross-contamination in order to protect your loved one from the allergen. Getting a Lifelab Test kit is the quickest way to learn what your body can and can’t tolerate. Living with allergies doesn’t need to put the end to your Valentine’s Day plans, so get tested and enjoy your day.

References

  1. https://www.ecarf.org/en/relationships-and-food-allergies/
  2. https://www.gq.com/story/food-allergies-dating
  3. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/allergies-romance

Where To Get An Intolerance Testing Kit

Bloating, nausea, fatigue – there are all kinds of symptoms you might experience if you’re living with an intolerance. Not only can these sensations be incredibly uncomfortable, but they can also be dangerous if your intolerance is severe.

Unidentified intolerances can lead to conditions such as nutrient deficiencies and even an irritated gut. That means it’s crucial to get an intolerance testing kit as soon as you can, if you’re experiencing symptoms. But where can you find one that’s quick, easy and reliable?

At Lifelab Testing, we offer intolerance testing kits that contain everything you need to take a small blood sample in the comfort of your home. Learn more about our simple test kits below.

Basic intolerance testing kit

Do you suspect you know what’s to blame for your symptoms? If you’ve noticed that you consistently feel discomfort a couple of hours after eating a potential allergen (for example, gluten, dairy or milk), our basic intolerance testing kit is for you.

The basic kit can test for 40 common food and drink intolerances, is easy-to-use and delivered direct to your door. All you need to do is follow the instructions to take a quick skin-prick blood test at home, before sending it back to our scientists using the prepaid packaging provided.

Our team will analyse your sample, searching for an antibody known as IgG4. This is produced by your immune system every time you eat something that sparks your intolerance. A high presence of IgG4 will help us identify the substance that’s causing your problems.

Complete intolerance testing kit

Alternatively, you may have no idea what’s causing your symptoms. Almost anything can spark a food intolerance, so don’t give up if you’ve ruled out the common antigens such as gluten and lactose.

Our complete intolerance testing kit can identify 160 key food and drink intolerances in just one sample. This makes it a lot quicker and easier than other methods of diagnosis, such as the elimination method. Imagine trying to cut out 160 different foods in turn!

Once you’ve taken your test and received your results, our complete test also gives you access to a free 30-minute consultation with a qualified nutritionist. They will be able to guide you through the results of your test and advise you on any dietary steps to take in the future.

Order your intolerance testing kit

If you suspect you have a food intolerance, it’s important to find out for sure to prevent the problem from getting worse. Our certified team promise 100% accurate results or your money back. So what are you waiting for? Order your intolerance test from Lifelab Testing today.

The Difference Between Hay Fever and Covid

A few years ago, a sore throat, sudden loss of smell or wheezy cough might not have worried you. But as scientists continue to discover potential symptoms of coronavirus, the smallest sensation can now cause serious anxiety – and this could get even worse with hay fever season fast approaching.

From headaches to fatigue, there is a considerable overlap between the symptoms of hay fever and COVID-19. If you’ve noticed unusual symptoms but have received a negative covid test, hay fever testing could be the best way forward.  

In this blog post, we’ll share some key hay fever symptoms and explain how our complete body test could help you tell the difference between hay fever and COVID-19, and take control of your health.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

We’re probably all familiar with the typical hay fever symptoms: a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. But did you know there are a number of other hay fever symptoms that you may have overlooked? According to the NHS, these include:

  • Loss of smell
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Blocked nose
  • Itchy throat, mouth, nose or ears

Several of these have also been identified as potential covid symptoms, so it’s important to get a reliable covid test first. But once that’s been ruled out, you may be wondering whether pollen is to blame for your discomfort.

How does hay fever testing work?

At Lifelab, our complete body allergy test will test for 40 different allergies. And it’s not just food and drink allergies we can identify. By testing a small sample of your blood, we can test for pollen-related antibodies that could indicate you have hay fever – i.e. an allergy to pollen.

If your symptoms are noticeably worse around certain plants, such as cut grass or crops in a field, you may already suspect that you have hay fever

Hay fever season is typically between late March and September as this is when the pollen count is highest. However, some people experience symptoms all year-round, so don’t wait until September for the sneezing to go away!

With a reliable hay fever test, you can get to the bottom of the problem and start managing your symptoms as soon as possible.

Order your complete body test today

With Lifelab Testing, you can find out whether you’re suffering from hay fever once and for all. Order your complete body test online to get fast and reliable answers from the comfort of your own home.