Most food allergies start in childhood, but they can develop at any time of life. It isn't clear why, but some adults develop an allergy to a food they used to eat with no problem. Sometimes a child outgrows a food allergy only to have it reappear in adulthood.
If you have a food allergy, you'll need to avoid the offending food. An allergic reaction can quickly put your immune system into a state of emergency, affecting numerous organs in your body. For certain people, even a tiny amount of the food may cause symptoms such as digestive problems, hives, facial swelling or trouble breathing.
Some people with a food allergy are at risk for a life-threatening reaction (anaphylaxis) that requires emergency treatment.
Don't ignore a reaction that occurs shortly after eating a particular food. See your doctor to determine what's causing it. Even if you've had a relatively mild reaction in the past, subsequent allergic reactions may be more serious. Get emergency treatment for any severe food reaction.
Oct. 10, 2014
- Burks W. Clinical manifestations of food allergy: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 1, 2014.
- Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States: Summary for patients, families and caregivers. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodallergy/clinical/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed Aug. 1, 2014.