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Food allergy: Can it develop later in life?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-allergy/AN00179
- With Mayo Clinic asthma and allergy specialist
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.read biographyclose window
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.James Li, M.D.
"People with allergy or asthma can lead full and healthy lives." — Dr. James Li
Dr. James Li is chair of the Division of Allergic Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine and a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist. He hopes his expertise and the information on the site educates health care consumers in an area of rapid change both in medications and diagnoses.
"There are a lot of misperceptions about allergy and asthma," says Dr. Li, a New York City native who has been with Mayo since 1985 and works with a group of subspecialists in allergy, asthma and immunology. "I believe it's important to provide truthful, accurate information about allergy and asthma to the public. The more people know, the better they can take care of these conditions."
Dr. Li is a professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. He's a past director of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, and the American Board of Internal Medicine. He's a fellow in the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology honored him with the Distinguished Service Award, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology with its Special Recognition Award.
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Food allergy: Can it develop later in life?
Can adults develop a food allergy?
from James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Most food allergies start in childhood, but they can develop at any time in a person's life. It isn't clear why, but some adults develop an allergy to a food they could once 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 altogether. 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.
However, most food reactions aren't caused by a true food allergy. They're caused by a food intolerance, which is generally limited to digestive problems. With an intolerance, you may be able to eat small amounts of the offending food without a reaction.
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.Next question
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- Burks W. Clinical manifestations of food allergy: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 29, 2011.
- Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States: Summary of the NIAID sponsored expert panel report. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodallergy/clinical/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed April 29, 2011.