Health Experts Explain Dangers Of Adult Allergies
Posted January 13, 2003 6:32 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Food allergies do not always develop at a young age, according to doctors.
Many adults can eat a certain food all their life, then become severely allergic to it later in life.
Jacque Blaeske is allergic to macadamia nuts. It took only three to make her deathly ill.
"It was actually on my mother's birthday. That was lousy timing," said Blaeske. "I liked them too. That's the annoying part."
Allergists said food allergies are more common in children than adults, but they can be just as dangerous.
The most common allergies are nuts and shellfish.
Dr. Dave Judge, an allergist, said the surprising part is that in many cases, adults become allergic to foods they have eaten for years.
"People slowly, slowly, slowly get sensitized and the day comes when they cannot eat it. And that's fairly common," Judge said.
He advised everyone to search labels and use extra caution with all foods they eat.
"They go, 'Oh you're becoming a bit of a hypochondriac' and I go, 'Oh no I'm not!'" said Blaeske.
People with allergies should also be aware of all products, not just food.
Blaeske bought a bottle of lotion that looked harmless, but it contained macadamia oil.
"You go, 'Oh my gosh, it's got macadamia nut oil. What's going to happen to me?'" she said.
Blaeske said she keeps an Epi-pen on hand at all times. In case of an emergency, it will keep her from going into shock.
"I'm just hoping that I never will have to (use it). But knowing that I can survive because I have it does make it better. It makes it less frightening," said Blaeske.
In many cases, adult food allergies become more severe with every exposure, according to allergists.