Only Half of Adults Who Think They Have Food Allergies Really Do: Study

Only Half of Adults Who Think They Have Food Allergies Really Do: Study

Reacting to certain foods may not indicate an allergy, but simply a food sensitivity.

Feel like you’re allergic to shrimp? You might be, or it could be something else. 

A study done at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has unveiled that 19 percent of American adults think they’re living with a food allergy. Their reported symptoms, however, are inconsistent with a true food allergy. A real allergy can trigger a dangerous, life-threatening anaphylactic reaction.

“While we found that one in 10 adults have food allergy, nearly twice as many adults think that they are allergic to foods, while their symptoms may suggest food intolerance or other food related conditions,” said the study’s lead author, Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, from Lurie Children’s.

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Gupta stressed it’s important to see a physician to have your problem tested and officially diagnosed. This can help you determine if you need to carry an epinephrine pen on you, or not. It also allows you to be educated on managing your food allergy, and recognizing the symptoms of an attack.

Over 40,000 adults were surveyed nationally in the study, published in JAMA Network Open. Interestingly, nearly half of all adults with a food allergy develop at least one of their allergies as an adult.

What’s the most common one? Shellfish, followed by milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fin fish, eggs, wheat soy, and finally sesame allergies are prevalent in American adults.  

To find out if you are truly allergic to something, visit an allergist. You will have a minuscule drop of liquid food extract placed on your skin. Your skin will then be pricked. Within just 20 minutes, if you show a raised red bump, you likely have an allergy. 

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