So, what is the difference between a food intolerance and allergy?
No idea? No problem – doctors haven't been able to distinguish between the two either until recently.
Unfortunately, until they did, patients were being treated for food allergies which did nothing to resolve the symptoms they were suffering from.
While that's obvious enough, the reason given by physicians is that they were trying to treat an immune reaction when there was none. In fact, this food intolerance was attributed to rising levels of lactose or histamine.
You must understand that there are eight foods that are considered to be associated with the term 'food allergies'. Yet the term 'allergies' is bang on target when it comes to conditions that include seasonal and indoor allergies which increase histamine levels with some of the other causes being wounds, insect bites and the like.
This is where your physician might recommend using an antihistamine…
What are Antihistamines?
It doesn't long for one to know what antihistamines can do. In medical terms, reduce histamine levels or block them, whether it's the prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication.
Now, there are also two types of antihistamines – first and second generation antihistamines, with the first generation antihistamine working both as a sedative and to deal with the allergy.
Some examples of medication that contain first-generation antihistamines such as Brompheniramine, Chlorpheniramine, Clemastine, Dimenhydrinate and Diphenhydramine are Dimetapp, Dramamine, Dimetane, Bromphen, Nasahist, Allerhist, Chlor-Trimeton, Tavist and Benadryl.
As for medication which contain second generation antihistamines such as Cetirizine, Fexofenadine, Desloratadine and Loratadine, some of them are found in Zyrtec, Allegra, Clarinex and Claritin.
However, as with all medication, there are certain pros and cons with using antihistamines, especially of the first variety. So, let's look at a few antihistamine effects that one should watch out for, especially if you use them regularly.
Antihistamine Effects – What You Need to Know
If it isn't apparent already, it is vital for people to know that second generation antihistamines are considered to be safer by physicians as opposed to first generation antihistamines.
Yes, the reason is because the side-effects that are associated with the latter are milder compared to those that occur if you take first generation antihistamines.
#1: Drowsiness (very common with first generation antihistamines)
#2: Inhibits clear thinking
#4: Dryness of the mouth
#5: Abdominal pain
#6: Blurry vision
However, these effects can be considered to be mild in comparison to other effects such as diarrhea, sweating, nausea and vomiting, fevers and chills, a ringing sound in the ear, an irregular heartbeat, difficulty in breathing and when urinating, an increased sensitivity to light, fainting and uncontrolled movements.
Complications would also arise if you took sedatives, muscle relaxants and sleeping pills along with these antihistamines, and an aspect that people should watch out for.
There are some people who must avoid antihistamines for allergies at all costs and they are patients with liver and heart disease, enlarged prostate seizures, thyroid and lung problems, glaucoma and high blood pressure.
Interestingly, there's a connection that exists between antihistamines and Alzheimer's. As ridiculous as this might sound, a recent study conducted shows that there does exist a scary link between the two that's sure to raise eyebrows.
Have you experienced any side effects with antihistamines? If so, feel free to share.
As for the difference between a food allergy and intolerance, the difference is merely that a reaction occurs immediately for the former while it takes about half an hour for signs of food intolerance to occur.