Food allergy (FA) is a medical condition that affects 15 million people in the United States. Allergic reactions are a result of exposure to a food that causes a harmful immune response. Currently there is no cure for food allergy—making strict avoidance of specific foods the gold-standard of food allergy management.

The Food Allergy Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital hosts a diverse population, which serves to inform the basis for our observational research and clinical trials. The Assa’ad Lab actively engages in research that aims to improve our understanding of the natural development of FA, and investigate novel treatments to achieve optimal health outcomes.

The impact of our work is far reaching, with projects that address FA management, health disparities, and health-related quality of life.

Amal H. Assa'ad, MD contributes educationally via talks and blogs, such as one about differentiating food intolerance from food allergy.

Key Differences Between Food Allergy and Intolerance

  Allergy Shared Symptoms Intolerance

  • Rash and / or hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden drop in BP
  • Is life threatening
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Gas, cramps, bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Is not life threatening
Timing of Symptoms
  • Quickly after eating the food
  • Can take hours

  • Every time food is eaten
  • Only need to eat a little to have symptoms
  • May need to eat a lot of it