Young Adults May Not Be Outgrowing Food Allergies As Expected

A leading immunologist recently warned that young adults are increasingly carrying into adulthood food allergies that earlier generations outgrew as children. Dr. Richard Loh, a pediatric immunologist, says that adult allergy specialists are about to be swamped by rising number of adults living with food allergies that they never outgrew.

Dr. Loh explained to Yahoo! News Australia that even a decade ago, he reassured families that their kids would likely outgrow their milk and egg allergies by the age of 8. However, now up to 20 percent of those children still have their allergies at the age of 16.

Why do so many kids still have food allergies as they enter adulthood? Dr. Loh says that there are many theories, but those in his field still don't fully understand the increase in adult food allergies or the increase in children with severe food allergies, a phenomenon that has also been noticed over the past decade.

Treating food allergies in kids is much different than treating food allergies in adults, says Dr. Loh. "We are worried about them because parents have been taking care of them, reading labels and doing everything and suddenly they're being transitioned to adult physicians and hospitals without as much preparation as we would like" he laments. He also pointed out that the 14-25 age group is particularly at risk for deaths from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. Allergy sufferers in this age group tend to take chances or downplay their condition. Many young adults don't carry an epinephrine auto-injector because it is bulky and inconvenient. He also notes that "Five per cent of young adults have reported they have had allergic reactions after kissing someone who has eaten a food they have been allergic to."

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