Allergic to intolerance? Think again.

I just found out today that milk allergy and lactic intolerance are two different physiological conditions.  The allergy involves the immune system, and the other one doesn’t.   If you have food intolerance, you can probably eat small amounts of the food without a reaction. But if you have a food allergy, eating even the tiniest amount of the food may trigger a serious allergic reaction.

The symptoms of allergy and intolerance overlap to a certain extent, so lay people like me often confuse them.  And yet, there is plenty of medical information available online about the distinction.  Most people must be like me – I find information only if I look for it, or if I look for something else that is related to it.

This morning I was looking for information on intolerance – not the medical kind, but the better-known one.  Lactic intolerance kept coming up, so I decided to check it out.  I thought about the difference between allergies and intolerance all day, and ended up asking myself: am I allergic or intolerant when it comes to intolerance?

It would sound very noble and heroic to say that I am in fact allergic to intolerance – that my lung ways constrict even at the slightest whiff of it.  On the other hand, I don’t want people to think that my metaphorical immune system is malfunctioning.  If it did, I would be consistently striking at imaginary enemies.  So being allergic to intolerance is not quite the way to go.  Being intolerant to intolerance gives me the shivers as well.  So what’s the way to go when you encounter intolerance?


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