environment. Maybe you’ve moved and are being exposed to different allergens, which trigger your immune system.
A viral or bacterial infection could also flip that switch.
Hormones can be a catalyst, too, especially in women. It’s not uncommon to develop food allergies during puberty, pregnancy or menopause.
“Allergies are a little bit higher in adulthood in women, and we don’t quite understand the mechanism yet, but it may have to do with changes in our hormones,” says Dr. Tania Elliott, an ACAAI spokesperson and faculty member at NYU Langone Health in New York City.
Some women may experience worsening allergy symptoms during different phases of their menstrual cycles, she adds.
Another possible cause: Certain medications or alcohol can change gut acidity, so the body stops breaking down certain foods the way it once did, Elliott notes.
That triggers what’s called an IgE-mediated immune response, which Elliott describes as “a fancy term for saying that our body is reacting abnormally to something that naturally occurs in the environment.”
That natural reaction triggers the body to release chemicals, including histamine, which can cause itching, redness, swelling and dilation of blood vessels, Elliott says.
Allergies can affect multiple organ systems with skin reactions, vomiting, trouble breathing and dilating blood vessels. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Your doctor may ask you to carry epinephrine so you can quickly treat this dangerous reaction.
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Allergist can help with diagnosis
Food intolerance is different. The symptoms may include bloating, fatigue or another form of discomfort, which may show up days later instead of within minutes or hours. If you experience those symptoms, Elliott suggests keeping a food diary for about two weeks and then letting a doctor analyze it. That may lead to an elimination diet to identify the culprit.
That tingly mouth some people get after biting into a fresh apple may be a condition called