You’ve probably heard a lot of things in your lifetime about food allergies, some of it true, some that didn’t really seem too true. Here are just a few of the myths people believe about food allergies and the real truths behind them.

Myth 1: You don’t need to go to the doctor if you simply avoid the food you’re allergic to.

You may know a food doesn’t make you feel good, but if you’re not a doctor you’re much more likely to make an incorrect assessment. You could be attributing your symptoms to the wrong ingredient in a food, or you could be thinking you have a food allergy when it’s really another allergy or a digestive disorder. A doctor will be able to determine the true cause of your problems.

Myth 2: You are allergic to all foods that make you sick.

Just because your body has issues properly digesting a certain food, doesn’t mean you’re allergic. For instance, most people call lactose intolerance being allergic to milk. In reality, your body simply has problems digesting the sugars and you will feel sick. Those who are truly allergic to milk will actually have an immune response that may be life-threatening. While they may not be allergies, other food issues could be severe and should still be treated by a doctor.

Myth 3: Food allergies start as a child and get better as you get older.

Food allergies often start in children, but can develop, sometimes suddenly, in people of all ages. Many children lose their food allergies as they age, but that doesn’t mean everyone does. Plus, while some allergies actually do go away, others disappear or improve, and then return later in life. Ignoring an allergy and simply thinking a child has grown out of it could be very dangerous to them.

Myth 4: I can eat some of what I’m allergic to, as long as it’s not too much.

If you have a food allergy, you will need to avoid that food completely. In many cases, even the smallest amount of a food can be life-threatening. With more severe allergies, you may not even need to eat the food or be exposed to it directly to have a reaction.

Myth 5: If I don’t have to go to the hospital, it’s not a food allergy.

Not all food allergies are life-threatening. Many can simply make you uncomfortable or sick when you eat certain foods. Just because your life isn’t in danger, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be treated for minor allergies. Besides proper diagnosis of your condition, you can know exactly what foods to avoid. This can also be helpful if your allergy does become more severe with time.

Myth 6: A lot of people have food allergies.

While a lot of people are intolerant to a lot of food, only a small percentage have true allergies to food. While intolerance is usually annoying, it isn’t nearly as dangerous. Only testing done by a doctor can really determine if it is an allergy or not.

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