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Adult-onset food allergies / Allergic reactions

Symptom

Say you discovered you were allergic to peanuts as a kid. You’ve probably steered way clear of peanuts since then, especially if your allergy is severe. But what if you've eaten (and even loved!) shellfish forever, but suddenly your happy hour shrimp taco makes you break out in hives and feel all tingly? (Not such a happy happy hour, right?) That’s just one example of an allergic reaction that can crop up out of nowhere or get worse for no apparent reason. Say you discovered you were allergic to peanuts as a kid. You’ve probably steered way clear of peanuts since then, especially if your allergy is severe. But what if you've eaten (and even loved!) shellfish forever, but suddenly your happy hour shrimp taco makes you break out in hives and feel all tingly? (Not such a happy happy hour, right?) That’s just one example of an allergic reaction that can crop up out of nowhere or get worse for no apparent reason. Adult-onset food allergies are a big emerging health problem, and researchers say more people are developing new allergies than previously seen—though they're not exactly sure why. And get this: not only can you develop a new allergy, a pre-existing allergy can change over time. Asthma and seasonal allergic diseases can also evolve—and cause those with food allergies to have more severe reactions. Stress, for one, can make a seasonal allergic response worse by ramping up your already triggered immune system, and it can also amp up your physical response. Toxins and pollution in the environment can also send your asthma and allergies into overdrive. If you find you’re having an unexpected allergic reaction to food, don’t panic—but do rush right to the ER if you feel like your airway is closing or the reaction is severe. After an ER trip, make sure you follow up with your practitioner so they’re updated on the latest with your health. When your body is fighting illness or stress or dealing with inflammation, it’s not uncommon to experience new triggers. So, even if your reaction is only mild, try to keep track of any foods or substances that give you trouble. That way, you can be prepared for any reactions that do happen, or better yet, avoid newfound triggers altogether!

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