December 8, 2023

7 Late-Onset Food Allergies Common in Ageing Adults


Food allergies can develop in adults between the ages of 18 to 86. When the allergies occur in older adults, the symptoms tend to be severe. There are certain foods commonly associated with allergic reactions.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Newcastle families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Here is a list of 7 late-onset food allergies common in seniors.

1. Fish 

Halibut, salmon, and tuna are some of the species of fish associated with adult-onset food allergies. Adults commonly develop an allergy to one type of fish, but they are not bothered by other species. Allergic reactions most often include swelling of the mouth and throat and irritation of the respiratory system, which leads to breathing difficulty. Some seniors might also experience nausea and vomiting. 

2. Shellfish

Crustacean and mollusc allergies are common in adults. Once a senior experiences a reaction to one type of shellfish, he or she is advised against eating other species. Crab, lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops often lead to food allergies among seniors. 

3. Peanuts

For yet unknown reasons, peanut allergies are on the rise. These allergies are considered one of the most hazardous, as the disorder carries a high rate of anaphylactic shock. Surveys estimate up to 40 percent of adults with peanut allergies can also develop a reaction to tree nuts. 

Peanut products such as peanut butter contain white sugar, which could lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. For professional Alzheimer’s care in Newcastle, turn to Home Care Assistance. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialised dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

4. Tree Nuts

The different types of tree nuts include almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios. After having an allergic reaction to tree nuts, the risk of going into anaphylactic shock is high. Seniors are often advised to avoid all types of nuts if they are allergic to only one type. 

5. Fruits and Vegetables

Reactions to fruits and vegetables are the most common food allergies in adults, and this disorder is known as oral allergy syndrome or pollen-food allergy syndrome. The allergy develops when the immune system mistakes certain proteins in food with proteins found in pollen. In the majority of instances, the reaction occurs after eating raw fruits or vegetables. Symptoms include itchy lips, mouth, and throat followed by tingling sensations, redness, swelling, and blisters. 

6. Soy

Although the majority of soy reactions tend to be mild, older adults may experience severe symptoms. 

7. Wheat

Wheat allergies develop due to a sensitivity to the protein gluten, which is also found in barley, oats, and rye. This type of allergy is known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy or celiac disease. Symptomatic reactions include bloating from excessive gas, diarrhoea, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. The condition triggers an inflammatory process in the gastrointestinal tract, which also interferes with nutritional absorption. As a result, adults experience fatigue.

Eating gluten can also lead to a number of cognitive health conditions such as dementia. Newcastle, NSW, dementia care professionals can help your loved one manage the symptoms of dementia. Though mental stimulation is a key component of dementia care, it’s also important to encourage seniors to socialise regularly, eat nutritious foods, exercise, and focus on other healthy lifestyle factors. To learn about our high-quality senior care plans, call Home Care Assistance at (02) 4089 3000 today. 


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For a bit of guidance or immediate help, we’re here for Novocastrian seniors in search for quality aged care to support them in the next chapter of their lives.