How common are adult on-set allergies? - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

How common are adult on-set allergies?

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He's the Vikings' most prized player, so it's no wonder that Adrian Peterson got a lot of attention after his allergic reaction to food this week -- but how common are adult on-set allergies?

Food allergies can develop at any age. Though children make up the largest population, 3 percent of adults develop some type of food allergy later in life -- and they are nothing to take lightly.

Peterson can take a hit from a 300-pound lineman and bounce back up, but a little bit of jambalaya delivered one of the biggest hits of his life.

"It was pretty scary," Peterson admitted.

Doctors rushed him to the hospital after his throat started itching, his faced swelled up and he couldn't breathe.

"It was like, 'Wow, I can't believe this is happening, but thank God I'm in an ambulance and I'm going to be okay because it could have been a lot different,'" he said.

Hearing Peterson's story brought back memories for Tracy Shea, who developed an allergy to melons at the age of 20 minutes.

"They told me if I hadn't gotten here within the next 10-15 minutes, it could have been shock and possibly death," she recalled. "It took me back 20 years to the time I ate the shell fish crab meat in a salad and suddenly was at the hospital with anaphylaxis."

"We don't know exactly why people get food allergies to begin with," said Dr. Pramod Kelkar, an allergist with Alina Medical Clinic Woodbury.

Traditionally, adults develop allergies to shell fish, peanuts, tree nuts and fish, but Kelkar says there's no reason to avoid certain foods because of the potential. Instead, Kelkar recommends being aware of how your body is reacting in case the symptoms become severe.

"There are certain types of food allergies that are life-threatening and certain types of food allergies that are a nuisance," Kelkar explained. "You need to be able to separate that."

Signs of an allergy can come on in 10 minutes or up to two hours after eating, but Kelkar recommends calling for help at the first sign of trouble. Even one reaction to a food should be followed up on with a specialist.

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