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JAMA Patient Page
July 24/31, 2013

Food Allergies

JAMA. 2013;310(4):444. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6853

A food allergy is an exaggerated response of the immune system to certain foods, such as milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, wheat, and soy.

An allergy is not the same as food intolerance. Food intolerance can occur with some of the same foods that cause allergies. Symptoms of food allergy include hives or eczema; hoarse voice; wheezing; swelling of lips or face; abdominal pain; diarrhea or vomiting; problems swallowing; difficulty breathing; and itchy eyes, throat, or skin.

Food intolerance often causes abdominal pain or cramps or diarrhea. This can be caused by cow’s-milk products (lactose intolerance) and grains containing gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye (celiac disease).

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