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You may think you have a food allergy – but actually don’t – says new research

You may think you have a food allergy – but actually don’t – says new research

You may think you have a food allergy – but actually don’t – says new research

Half of people who think they have a food allergy do not – this according to a major new study.

Researchers have found that over 10 percent of adults in the U.S. are estimated to have a food allergy, but almost twice as many people as this think they have a food allergy but probably don’t. This according to research published Friday in the medical journal JAMA.

“We often think of allergies as a childhood condition, and we see so many of our children, our young children, developing food allergies,” says Dr. Ruchi Gupta, one of the authors of the study. As the research shows, the problem also affects the adult population.

While the study was conducted in the U.S., experts say a similar situation is also seen in other countries.

The researchers surveyed over 40,000 adults in the U.S., also finding that only half of the people who reported a convincing food allergy had been diagnosed by a physician. Nearly half of food-allergic adults had at least 1 adult-onset food allergy, and 38% reported at least 1 food allergy-related emergency department visit in their lifetime.

The results reveal that the most common “convincing” allergy was to shellfish, affecting 2.9% of adults, with milk and peanuts in second and third place, affecting 1.9% and 1.8% of adults respectively.

But, while 10.8% of participants were deemed to have at least one convincing food allergy, almost twice as many – 19% – reported they had such a problem.

Researchers were also surprised to find that adult-onset food allergies were quite common. This counteracts the commonly-held belief that most allergies develop in childhood. 

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