According to conventional wisdom, food allergies develop in babies. Food allergies may disappear through childhood as kids ‘outgrow’ them, but no new allergies will appear in adolescence or adulthood. However, theDetroit Free Presswarns that food allergies can develop without warning at any point in life. Even if you’ve eaten the same food many times before with no adverse effects, it is possible to become allergic. Food allergies are unpredictable; consuming the food may cause a mild reaction one time, and a life-threatening reaction the next.

Although food allergies are relatively rare in adults, and most adults’ food allergies have been present since childhood, they can develop later. Food allergies that first appear in adulthood aren’t likely to go away, unlike childhood food allergies, which may be outgrown.

Food allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies a food protein as a threat. Experts offer two explanations for adult-onset food allergies. First is a delayed or extended sensitization period. Other food allergies reflect a cross-reaction to another allergen, such as the pollen responsible for seasonal allergies.

According to a Harvard Medical School Adviser, fish and shellfish allergies are the most likely to develop in adulthood, and they can be severe. Experts speculate that late onset fish allergies may occur because some people don’t eat a lot of fish as children, only becoming sensitized to it later in life.

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