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Developing food allergies later in life

Living a life with allergies has its challenges- depending on the severity of the sensitivity, it can seem like your whole world revolves around it. And indeed, although some anaphylactic allergies, such as bee stings, may be easier to control or prevent, those that have either food or environmental allergies may find themselves being on guard against an allergic episode, becoming a matter of survival. The big question is how and why they suddenly happen- what makes some people allergic to things that others have no issues with? Unfortunately, scientists have limited knowledge in this area. They do know why they begin and why in some cases do they disappear.

 

Adult-onset allergies

An increasing percentage of the population is struggling with their new reality regarding their children and their allergies. The scientist is also drawing their attention to the increase of adults that are suddenly developing allergies. Not unsurprising people are demanding to know more. The authentic proposition of developing a severe allergy later on in life prompts people to search for information and a deeper understanding of possible explanations and (hopefully) prevention methods.

Dr. Kevin McGrath says, “We often see the onset in a lot of adults, around the 30s and 40s, and another group in the 50s and 60s. It can [happen] in any age group.” A study taken in October 2017 showed that almost half (45%) of adults who (currently) have allergies developed them in adulthood.

What we know so far

“That’s the thing about allergies; You’re fine, you’re fine, you’re fine ... until you’re not.” Beth Corn, MD

Some of the possible explanations given for adult-onset allergies are:

  • People who are in close contact with an animal that the person had no previous contact with, such as an adult getting a new pet
  • Relocating during retirement years exposes the body to new environmental factors such as trees and plants.
  • A person who wasn’t exposed to a sufficient enough level of the allergen during childhood but reaching that point later in life.
  • Being exposed to allergens while the immune system is in a weakened state, for example, during an illness or pregnancy.
  • Some people who seem more prone than others are those with eczema, asthma, or seasonal allergies.

Allergies post-pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body naturally immune-suppresses itself, allowing the fetus to grow in the womb. That process could change how the body naturally sensitizes to allergens. After the birth, the immune system ‘comes back online’ and looks for things to react to, which is why Dr. Quinn Hand says some women may find themselves reacting to certain foods that they could consume without an issue before the pregnancy.

Another possibility is that the adrenal system is overworking, causing a woman to react to new sensitivities. Their stress responses aren’t working correctly, and inflammatory components are making their way into the gut.  

What can you do?

Unfortunately, not much. That is not to say there is nothing you can do. Awareness and prevention is the first vital step. Doctors across the board stress the importance of noticing changes in your body and paying attention to when they occur. Ignoring symptoms will not make them go away but could delay potential treatment plans or prevention methods that could stop a more severe episode from occurring.

So no matter what age you are, if you do notice any symptoms such as a rash, red eyes, or scratchy throat after eating a certain food, during a particular time of year, or even seemingly out of nowhere- contact your local Doctor or Allergist so you can get the help you need as soon as possible.

 

To explore the resources used in this article, click here.

Food Allergy Awareness Week 2021
Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis in Newborns
 

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Meticulous in their preparations

During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.

 After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.

 Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.

 We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.

T.M., Chicago, USA

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We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!

We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.

My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!

It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)

We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!! 

CO, Canada
April 2016

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Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.

Yasher Koach!
L.R., NY, NY

Delicious and Safe

Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel.  We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!

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T.G., Philadelphia, PA

The Allergy Card was Extremely Helpful

"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew.  The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”

G.A. Illinois USA

Allergy Free baked goods for the lockdown

My family ordered a week's worth of food from Food Allergy Concierge during the most recent lockdown. Having the food on hand, and knowing that it was safe for everyone in the family to eat, helped turn the lockdown into a stay-cation! We were still able to take a break from cooking and worrying, and we look forward to using FAC's services again in the future.

Very easy to order and communicate your needs

We are so lucky we found this company to help us while our son was traveling. They provided allergy-safe baked goods and delivered them to his hotel so he could have bread and pastries on his month-long Israel trip. It was very easy ordering and communicating his needs. I would definitely use the food allergy concierge again the next time he travels to Israel.

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