Is It Food Allergies Or Contact Allergies? - McGovern Allergy And Asthma Clinic

Is it food allergies or contact allergies? Some differences are important to note if you have noticed a rash and are wondering if the reaction was caused by food or contact allergies. Learn how to tell the difference and some treatment options in our blog.

Food Allergies vs. Contact Allergies And Their Reactions

A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. An allergen or irritant similarly causes contact allergies. But how do you know if you have a food allergy or contact allergy reaction?

Symptoms of a food allergy reaction:

Food allergy reactions include hives all over the body (not eczema), difficulty breathing, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms usually occur within an hour of eating an allergen.

Symptoms of contact allergies:

The symptoms of contact dermatitis cause eczema (inflamed, irritated, red, dry skin) and not hives.  Eczema shows up more than 24 hours after contact with the allergen. Since it is contact, the rash is usually just at the point of contact on the skin. For example, on the finger if a ring is worn, or on the neck if perfume is applied there. Symptoms do not include difficulty breathing, vomiting, or diarrhea (no respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms).

Treatment Options

For food allergy treatment, it’s essential to visit your allergist for allergy testing to identify the specific food allergy. Once diagnosed, your allergist may prescribe medications such as an antihistamine to combat your symptoms. However, avoiding the allergen is also advised to help reduce future reactions.

For contact allergies and treatment, the allergist will also help identify the cause of the reaction through skin allergy testing (patch testing). Once the allergen is specified, the allergist may prescribe medications and external creams and recommend avoidance of the allergen.

Allergy & Asthma Treatment at McGovern Allergy Clinic

If you are struggling with contact or food allergies and need relief, contact our McGovern Allergy and Asthma Clinic team today! Call 713-661-1444 to schedule an appointment, or click the link to request one online.