U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 30-year-old member asked:

What's the difference between an intolerance and allergy?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. John Overholt
Allergy and Immunology 26 years experience
Broad v specific: An allergy reaction is a very specific sort of immune response involving a specific set of cells and inflammatory mediators. An intolerance has a much broader definition and is typically not an immune system reaction. Lactose intolerance, for instance, is an enzyme deficiency that makes one unable to digest lactose.

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Educational text
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership

Similar questions

A 25-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between allergy and intolerance?

4 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Madhukar Punja
Specializes in Allergy and Immunology
They are different : Allergy is an altered response by your immune system to an allergen. Allergens are usually harmless particles like pollens, dust, cat dander or even certain foods, wherein your body has antibodies that fight them releasing chemicals to get rid of them. Intolerance is where your body is not able to process certain proteins like milk protein or gluten. One good example would be lactose intolerance.
A 37-year-old member asked:

What is the difference in symptoms of dairy allergy vs. Dairy intolerance?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Allergy and Immunology 44 years experience
Allergy not just GI: Dairy intolerance is caused by an inability to digest milk sugar lactose into two simpler sugars. This results in gas, cramps, bloating, flatulence & diarrhea. Dairy allergy may cause these same symptoms but typically also causes vomiting, skin rashes like hives or eczema & even triggers allergic rhinitis & asthma. If symptoms all GI try lactose-free milk. You'll have no symptoms if intolerant.

Related questions

A 41-year-old member asked:
3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
A 43-year-old member asked:
2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
A 31-year-old member asked:
1 doctor answer4 doctors weighed in

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Educational text
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership
Last updated Feb 13, 2013
Connect with a U.S. board-certified doctor by text or video anytime, anywhere.
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.