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I have never had food allergies. I have heard about adult-onset food allergies. Is that something to worry about? How common is it in adults?

Food allergies typically develop during infancy and childhood. Some individuals develop them after reaching adulthood. This is known as adult-onset food allergies. Specific foods were eaten earlier in life, without an allergic reaction.

Approximately 11% of adults have food allergies. Half of the adults with food allergies develop these new food allergies in their adult years. The most common foods causing adult-onset food allergies include:

  • Shellfish
  • Milk
  • Peanut
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish

Adults who believe they may have developed a new food allergy should see an allergist. They’ll review the medical history and do appropriate testing. The allergist will recommend which foods should be eliminated and provide treatment options. This may include carrying an epinephrine autoinjector to treat anaphylactic reactions.

Fish Allergy, Food Allergy, Milk Allergy, Peanut Allergy, Shellfish Allergy, Tree Nut Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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