That meteoric rise in food allergies? It’s not just with kids.
Research being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting shows that almost half of all food-allergic adults surveyed reported one or more adult-onset food allergies.
“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,” says Dr Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, ACAAI member and lead author of the study. “We also saw that, as with children, the incidence of food allergies in adults is rising across all ethnic groups.”
The most common food allergy amongst adults is shellfish, affecting as estimated 3.6% of US adults, a 44% increase in the prevalence rate since a 2004 study. Tree nut allergy affects an estimated 1.8% of US adults, a whopping 260% increase from a 2008 study.
“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,” says Christopher Warren, PhD candidate and study co-author. “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. Because many adults believe food allergies mostly affect children, they may not think to get tested. It is important to see an allergist for testing and diagnosis if you are having a reaction to a food and suspect a food allergy.”