Is It Food Allergies or Contact Allergies?

Food Allergies or Contact Allergies?

Is It Food Allergies or Contact Allergies?

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


Food Allergies vs. Contact Allergy Reactions

A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. Contact allergies similarly are caused by an allergen or irritant. But how do you know if you are having 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 normally occur within an hour of eating an allergen.


Symptoms of a contact allergy reaction:

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 on 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 important 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, avoidance of the allergen is also advised to help reduce future reactions.


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


Allergy & Asthma Treatment at McGovern Allergy Clinic

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