A few months ago, I started developing crazy rashes all over my body. It started on my legs, and I thought they were harmless enough, so I let them be. When I came home that night, they had spread all over my arms, chest, and back, and on the second day, they started creeping up my neck towards my face.
It was the itchiest I’ve ever been. I took antihistamine straight away and they got better by morning, after a challenging mission not to scratch them throughout the night. But by noon, it started kicking in again—and it was even worse, especially since I was at work and I couldn’t scratch myself in front of my co-workers.
When I saw my dermatologist, she told me that my rashes were actually a case of Urticaria aka hives. It is an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps or plaques on the skin that appear suddenly—either as a result of the body’s reaction to certain allergens or for unknown reasons. It’s apparently a common skin disease that four out of 10 people get every year. I was given a higher dosage of antihistamines and additional steroid pills to calm down the itchiness and redness.
But bottom line was: My doctor wasn’t able to answer my most important question—what caused it?
She told me that Urticaria is often triggered by allergens. But here’s the thing. I’m not allergic to anything. At least not that I know of. I’ve been eating anything and everything (maybe except mayonnaise because I hate it) ever since I was a child, and there have been no signs of allergies for me in the past years. So why is this happening to me now? Thankfully, I keep track of what I eat every day, and going through it, I didn’t seem to eat anything unusual. I haven’t been consuming beef and pork for the past few months, so most of my diet consisted of a lot of fish, the occasional chicken, oats, greens, and fruits. But nothing that I’ve eaten in the past few weeks before the rashes sprung was new to my body.
My doctor advised me to continue to watch what I eat, and to take note of possible triggers. This worried me a lot. Am I allergic to something now? I used to pride myself in being able to eat anything I wanted, unlike my mother who is allergic to crustaceans, and my father to oysters. I’m a huge food addict and have quite an adventurous taste too. The thought of having to give up any more than my beef and pork abstinence was terrifying.
Thankfully, I came across the answer to my prayers: the Food Intolerance Test.
The Life Science Center in Bonifacio Global City explained the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance. A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body, and can cause a range of symptoms. In some cases, an allergic food reaction can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems.
So if you ever feel bloated after meals, tired or foggy at certain times of the day, or get random headaches or migraines for no apparent reason, these might be symptoms of food intolerance. Although usually not life-threatening, the immune system’s intolerance of certain foods and substances may cause you to feel unwell, affecting your daily function and productivity and wreak havoc on your overall health. Food intolerance to beans and certain kinds of fish was the root cause of my Urticaria, and was determined through a Food Intolerance Test (FIT).
Developed by the Cambridge Nutritional Sciences (CNS), the Food Intolerance Test (FIT) is a state-of-the-art immunoassay based on microarray technology to detect food-specific IgG antibodies, and figures out which types of food give your body a negative reaction.
Knowing your intolerances can help you better understand your body and make necessary adjustments to your diet in order to regain normalcy and achieve optimal health. Unlike allergies, food intolerances are usually not immediate, so it is harder to trace what you might have eaten that’s causing your body to react negatively. Food intolerances can lead to a lot of unpleasant long-term effects and deprive your body of proper nutrition, leading to more serious health issues.
So if you’re having rashes out of nowhere like mine, you definitely need to get this test. But the symptoms don’t stop at rashes. Take note of these:
Feeling bloated, especially after meals
Chronic digestive problems, stomach pain, or diarrhea
Tiredness or fatigue at certain times of the day
Headaches or chronic migraines for no apparent reason
Lethargy and lack of energy
“Brain fog” or inability to focus
Chronic skin problems
Difficulty in losing weight
If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms out of nowhere, it’s best to consult your doctor and get a Food Intolerance Test. You might be consuming too much of what your body cannot tolerate. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat what you’re intolerant to (like allergens), it just means you have to lessen your intake of these certain foods. It’s best to be careful and mindful of what you put inside your body, especially now that diseases like dengue and hand, foot, and mouth disease are apparent.
Don’t wait for severe symptoms to pop up for you to get checked. It is important to remind ourselves and our loved ones to get regular checkups, to ensure our overall health and wellness. Signs of infections and diseases can appear when they’re already at their worst stages, and healing will be tougher. Always be mindful of any signs of pain and discomfort because health is of most absolute importance.