You Might Not Discover You're Allergic To This Food Until Adulthood

Whoever sold kids on the ruse that adulthood means eating whatever you want for dinner must not have had food allergies. No one tells you just how much of a bummer adult food allergies and intolerances are. One day you can gorge on a pizza, but then find yourself needing to pop a Lactaid or two before you indulge.

Many adults outgrow their childhood food allergies, so when you find yourself itchy after your favorite shrimp cocktail, it can be a shock. Adults experience allergies or intolerances in high numbers — about 26 million adults, in fact (per Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America). Foods you may find yourself suddenly unable to eat or enjoy might include dairy, red meat, or shellfish.

You could chalk up your adult-onset allergies to the universe throwing you a curveball, or it could just be a part of getting older. As you age, your digestive system undergoes changes that may make it difficult to digest certain foods, leading your body to trigger an immune response (per Allergy & ENT Associates). This might manifest as itchy hives or even anaphylactic shock. An allergy diagnosis can necessitate a swift change in your habits, such as reading ingredient labels carefully and perhaps calling the restaurant ahead of time to ask questions.

40% who have a fish allergy had no problems until adulthood

While most food allergies show up during childhood, there's one that takes a while to rear its head, according to School Nutrition Association. A finned fish allergy may not manifest until adulthood. Up to 40% of people who have a fish allergy say they had no problems with the food until they entered adulthood, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.

Finned fish includes salmon, tuna, and halibut, but is not to be confused with shellfish, which includes shrimp, scallops, lobster, and crab. If you are diagnosed with a finned fish allergy, some doctors will recommend avoiding the trigger altogether, even if one type of fish won't trigger a reaction while others will. Fish protein is found in processed foods, such as Worcestershire sauce, so it's best to be cautious and read ingredient labels carefully.

If you suspect you've developed a food allergy, get a referral from your doctor for an allergist to get a thorough allergy test done.