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Signs You May Have Developed a Food Allergy as an Adult

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You could experience anything from stomachaches to hives

Sometimes you’re born with food allergies, and other times these allergies develop later in life. The most common food allergies are to foods such as peanuts, milk, soy, tree nuts, and shellfish. But food allergies could really happen for anything you might eat — and they might develop at any age.

Signs You May Have Developed a Food Allergy as an Adult Gallery

But the term “food allergy” has often been somewhat misunderstood. Someone who gets some acne or a slight stomachache after eating ice cream, for example, might think they have a food allergy, mistaking what could be a different negative reaction to dairy as an allergic reaction. Plus, breakouts and stomachaches can happen after eating dairy for reasons that have nothing to do with food. Stress causes breakouts. Stress causes stomachaches, too. Breakouts can also be caused by pollution, dehydration, inflammation from other causes… So before you jump to cutting out all dairy because of a pimple, you might want to seek other solutions.

But many people do experience a hypersensitivity to certain foods — they may become bloated, experience gas, or get headaches. These sensitivities are often referred to as intolerances.

Being intolerant to a certain food is hugely different from being allergic to it. Someone who is mildly lactose intolerant may get bloated after eating cheese. But someone with a milk allergy actually has a histamine reaction after eating it.

A histamine reaction occurs when the body assumes a substance is harmful to the body and tries to get rid of it. People with allergies release histamines when the body detects whatever they’re allergic to, sometimes releasing far too many and putting their health in danger. Some people with a milk allergy seriously have to steer clear — or they could have a reaction severe enough to end in death.

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Allergies are no joke — which is why it’s important to know what symptoms to look for. If you develop an allergy later in life, you want to be prepared. You should know when to seek medical attention and when to get an allergy test from your doctor. These 11 symptoms are often characteristic of histamine reactions, or allergic reactions, to food.