Many Food Allergies May Develop in Adulthood

From Drugs.com - October 27, 2017

Many Food Allergies May Develop in Adulthood

FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2017 -- Is the roof of your mouth itchy after a peanut butter sandwich? Does your skin break out in hives after you have cracked your way through a lobster dinner?

It's possible you are one of the many adults who developed a food allergy as an adult, a new study says.

Researchers surveyed adults with food allergies and found that nearly half said that one or more of their allergies began in adulthood.

"Food allergies are often seen as a condition that begins in childhood, so the idea that 45 percent of adults with food allergies develop them in adulthood is surprising," said study lead author Dr. Ruchi Gupta. She is with Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Shellfish is the most common food allergy among U.S. adults, currently at 3.6 percent. That's a 44 percent increase from the rate of 2.5 percent reported in a 2004 study. The new study also found that the rate of adult tree nut allergy has increased from 0.5 percent in 2008 to 1.8 percent, a 260 percent increase.

"Our research also found that among black, Asian and Hispanic adults, the risk of developing a food allergy to certain foods is higher than for whites, specifically for shellfish and peanuts," said study co-author Christopher Warren, also from the Feinberg School of Medicine.

"For example, Asian adults were 2.1 times more likely to report a shellfish allergy than white adults, and Hispanic adults reported a peanut allergy at 2.3 times the frequency of white adults," he said.


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