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We’re mixing up food sensitivities with more serious allergies – Dr Isabel Skypala explains how to tell the difference
DR ISABEL SKYPALA is a consultant allergy dietitian and clinical lead for food allergy in the asthma and allergy group at Royal Brompton Hospital, London. She’s also an honorary clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London
Compiled by Charlotte Haigh. Photographs: iStock, Getty

There’s a lot of confusion about allergy versus intolerance – and it’s not surprising. An allergy is when someone’s immune system makes immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These originally evolved to get rid of parasites but in Western societies nowadays, they wrongly identify something harmless – like pollen or a food – as a foreign body and get to work trying to move it out of the body. During an allergic reaction, the IgE links to the protein antigen (the immune response-provoking substance) in a food or pollen. The so-called mast cell that the antibodies sit on breaks open and releases chemicals called histamines, which lead to typical allergy symptoms – such as rashes, wheezing and/or a runny nose.

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About Healthy Magazine

Have you thought about your sleep recently? It’s one of the key pillars of our wellbeing, which is why we’ve delved into all things bedtime this issue. Inside, you’ll find simple, science-backed fixes to all your sleep worries, from insomnia to snoring, plus our body clock training plan and moves to help you snooze. We investigate whether fat really deserves its bad rep, uncover the intricacies of the placebo effect, and explore 2019’s biggest wellness trend: blue health. Plus, our food section champions light Easter bakes, three beauty experts dish on their bedtime routines, and Jess Ennis-Hill talks family and fitness since retiring. Find all this and more in the brand new issue of Healthy!