I sat down to eat dinner – a meal I’ve had many, many times in my life. A quesadilla dipped in sour cream. Yet, this time, within a few minutes of eating it, I started to get really hot and itchy. My stomach was painfully bloated. What was happening? Could it be the dairy? I found myself wondering, can you develop food allergies later in life, at complete random? After food journaling and a few trips to the doctor, I realized that it seems, in fact, that you can. So, how common are adult-onset food allergies and what can you do to treat them?
Can You Develop Food Allergies Later in Life? Five Facts
Can you develop food allergies later in life and how often does adult-onset food allergy happen?
WebMD reports that one in every 10 adults has a food allergy. In fact, half of those adults developed the food allergy later in life – not as a child. Although it’s not extremely common, it does happen. There seems to be very little studies out there about developing food allergies later in life. However, from the little that exists, it’s happening more often.
What are symptoms of a food allergy
Food allergies aren’t always really easy to detect, especially if you have an eclectic pallet. If you’re eating meals that have lots of different ingredients, you may not realize right away which one is a trigger for you. If you start to notice that you’re not feeling well – signs like immediate bloating or diarrhea after eating, nasal congestion, or rashes/hives – start food journaling. Document what you eat and what your symptoms are. A doctor will then be able to help you narrow down your food allergy. In extreme cases, you can actually go into anaphylactic shock. This is more likely to happen the longer you ignore mild symptoms of an allergy, so take any and all suspected food-related intolerances seriously.
What’s the difference between an allergy and an intolerance?
When you are allergic to a food, you will have symptoms of an allergic reaction: hot, dizzy, racing heart, skin itchiness, stomach bloating, and sometimes even diarrhea or vomiting. You can also experience trouble breathing, (a sign of anaphylactic shock), so at this point you should immediately seek medical attention. With a food intolerance, your symptoms will be milder and less consistent. You may experience stomach pain, fatigue, or headaches. Your symptoms may not happen every single time you ingest the food, so this is harder to detect.
What foods are you most likely to have an allergic reaction to?
According to recent studies, people are more likely to have allergic reactions to certain foods rather than others. Milk is the most popular food allergy, followed by peanuts, tree nuts, and fin fish. Eat, wheat, and soy also made the list.
Are food allergies life threatening?
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. It’s important to get diagnosed so that you can get proper medication from your doctor to treat your food allergy. Some people can get by simply taking antihistamines. Others need a shot of epinephrine and medical care.
You Are Not Alone.
So…can you develop food allergies later in life? Yes. Is it absolutely terrifying? Yes. It is really scary when you develop a food allergy for the first time. If you’ve never had those symptoms before, you don’t really understand what is happening to your body. Don’t dismiss it. Seek medical attention! Although you might not get all of the answers you are looking for, you will hopefully find some clarity or direction for your diet.
Here are some additional facts about food allergies:
- As we said above, one in 10 adults have a food allergy, and more than half of them have experienced a severe reaction.
- Almost four in 10 of those severe reactions required emergency treatment.
- This one is discouraging for some – only one in 20 people with a convincing food allergy actually have a confirmed diagnosis from a doctor.
Do you struggle with a food allergy or intolerance? Share your experience and suggestions in the comments below!