In most cases, food allergies become apparent in childhood. However, it is possible for adults to experience sudden reactions to foods they have safely eaten for many years. Often, such patients have no idea that what they are experiencing is an allergic reaction to something they've eaten, and delay seeking treatment, which can have devastating consequences, says
In some cases, adult-onset food allergies could even be deadly. Donna Floridia's daughter Faith, a 20-year-old student and dancer, suddenly experienced trouble breathing. She went into anaphylactic chock after her throat swelled shut. Floridia recalled "They had her on life support and the question was what could this be?" Unfortunately, Faith died before doctors determined that her reaction had been caused by crab meat and shrimp that she had been eating.
Like many adult-onset food allergies, the symptoms seemed to occur out of nowhere. Dr. Robert Sugerman says that he sees many adult patients who develop symptoms of an allergy later in life. Often, it takes a great deal of time and effort to pinpoint the cause.
One such patients is Johanna Trump, who began experiencing symptoms when eating common foods. “When I was eating apples, I couldn’t stop salivating... I had this pain up by my ear, and I was itching around my mouth” she explained. After performing allergy tests, the doctor determined that Trump had developed several food allergies.
Donna Floridia hopes that her daughter's death will make other adults who notice potential food allergy symptoms decide to seek medical attention before it's too late.