This is according to a new study published last month in JAMA Network Open. Results are based on a national survey of over 40,000 adults. Researchers found that 19 percent of adults think they are currently food allergic, although their reported symptoms are inconsistent with a true food allergy, which can trigger a life-threatening reaction.
Common food allergy symptoms are hives, welling and chest pain. People not exhibiting what the study refers to as “convincing” food allergies reported other symptoms like stomach cramps, a stuffy nose and nausea.
Researchers discovered that only half of adults with convincing food allergy had a physician-confirmed diagnosis, and less than 25 percent reported a current epinephrine prescription.
Researchers also found that nearly half of food-allergic adults developed at least one of their food allergies as an adult.
More than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions. Eight major food allergens – milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish – are responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions in the United States. Allergy to sesame is an emerging concern.
The study data indicate that the most prevalent food allergens among U.S. adults are shellfish (affecting 7.2 million adults), milk (4.7 million), peanut (4.5 million), tree nut (3 million), fin fish (2.2 million), egg (2 million), wheat (2 million), soy (1.5 million), and sesame (.5 million).
The full allergy report can be read HERE.