But They're Wrong: Millions Of Americans Think They Have Food Allergies

Shellfish allergies to foods like shrimp were the most commonly reported type in a U.S. study of adults

Shellfish allergies to foods like shrimp were the most commonly reported type in a U.S. study of adults

Another interesting finding of the study is that almost half of food-allergic adults developed at least one of their allergies in adulthood.

It found that 1 in 10 adults, or more than 26 million people, have a food allergy of some kind.

"If food allergy is confirmed, understanding the management is also critical, including recognizing symptoms of anaphylaxis and how and when to use epinephrine", said Gupta in a news release.

Often thought of as a childhood affliction, a new study highlights the prevalence of adult-onset food allergies.

Scientists from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University looked at data from a survey of 40,000 adults. Furthermore, 45 per cent were allergic to multiple foods.

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The researchers then came up with a list of reactions they believe to be indicative of a true allergic reaction - things like hives, throat tightening, wheezing and vomiting.

"There are so many adults out there who have a negative reaction to a food".

Those who wrongly believed they had a food allergy did not exhibit symptoms that were consistent with their alleged allergy.

"We have been focusing efforts and concerns about food allergy in children", he said.

Which is not necessarily to suggest that millions of Americans are making up their discomfort. This occurs because the immune system attacks proteins, or allergens, in the food that are normally harmless.

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"Consequently, these findings suggest that it is crucial that adults with suspected food allergy receive appropriate confirmatory testing and counseling to ensure food is not unnecessarily avoided and quality of life is not unduly impaired", the study's authors wrote.

Food intolerances might be a genuine bummer, but they won't kill you.

The most common food allergies among U.S. adults are shellfish (affecting 7.2 million adults), milk (4.7 million), peanuts (4.5 million), tree nuts (3 million), fish (2.2 million), eggs (2 million), wheat (2 million), soy (1.5 million), and sesame (0.5 million).

Almost half of those with an allergy developed the condition in adulthood, and 38 percent had reactions severe enough to send them to the emergency room.

At this point, it's not clear what, if anything, could help prevent adults from developing food allergies, although research is increasingly clear that introducing young kids to allergenic foods can help stave off more serious problems later on - and that is a big shift from what was recommended just a decade or two ago.

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