Why Did I Develop Allergies as an Adult?

Imagine the nostalgia of taking a bite of your favorite childhood snack, the very one your mother lovingly packed in your school lunchbox every single day. You eagerly anticipate the familiar crunchiness, but instead, your mouth betrays you with an irritating itch, and your throat feels uncomfortably scratchy. It’s a disheartening moment, realizing that you’ve developed oral allergies, a phenomenon that haunts adults more frequently, especially those with a history of seasonal allergies.

Allergies, my friend, are the handiwork of our body’s immune system, a complex dance of defense mechanisms. They stand apart from food intolerance or sensitivity, which arise when our bodies struggle to digest certain foods or food chemicals. In the intricate realm of allergies, our immune system kicks into action, producing a special warrior called Immunoglobulin E, or IgE, to combat the allergy symptoms. IgE is a messenger, a chemical emissary that travels to our cells, urgently conveying the message that we need a chemical defense against these foreign invaders. It’s a fascinating process, really. Allergic individuals tend to have elevated IgE levels in response to seemingly harmless environmental exposures, like innocent pollen particles drifting on the breeze.

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Now, let’s embark on a journey to understand how allergies come to life within us, mere mortals. Allergies can sprout forth at any stage of our existence. One factor that magnifies the likelihood of their emergence is the specter of family history. If even one parent carries the burden of allergies, their offspring face a 30-50% chance of walking the same thorny path. But wait, the stakes rise to a staggering 60-80% if both parents bear this burden.

Allergies can also develop later in life due to exposure to new allergens in the environment and changes in the immune system. This can happen anywhere from early adulthood, such as a person’s 20s, to their senior years, when they are in their 70s or 80s. The most common food allergies in adults include peanuts, fish, shellfish (e.g., shrimp and lobster), and tree nuts. Recently, sesame seeds have also emerged as a new allergen in some cases.

The most peculiar aspect of adult-onset allergies is that you can suddenly become irritated by an allergen that didn’t bother you yesterday. You may have been in contact with that allergen every day for years without experiencing any adverse effects. But now, you find yourself with a runny nose, itchy eyes, and uncontrollable sneezing whenever exposed to that allergen.

Some potential triggers for adult-onset allergies include:

1. Allergen exposure when your immune system is weakened, such as during illness, pregnancy, or a condition that compromises your immune function.

2. Limited exposure to an allergen during childhood. You may not have been exposed to high enough levels to trigger a reaction until adulthood.

3. Switching to a new home or workplace with different allergens. This could involve exposure to new plants and trees.

4. Owning a pet for the first time. Research suggests that allergies can develop after an extended period of not having any pets.

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The good news is that allergies can diminish over time. Even if you develop allergies as an adult, you may find that they start to fade away as you reach your 50s and beyond. This is because immune function tends to decline with age, resulting in less severe immune responses to allergens.

Sources: 1 & 2


Toxins Lurking in Your Home: A Guide to Common Consumer Products in Singapore

As consumers, we place a great deal of trust in the products we use in our homes. We expect them to keep us and our loved ones healthy and make our lives easier. However, in Singapore, we must be aware that many of these products contain harmful toxins that can cause harm to our bodies and the environment. The thought of unknowingly exposing ourselves to such harmful chemicals can create feelings of fear and uncertainty, but it’s important that we educate ourselves on these risks to protect ourselves and our families.

It’s worth noting that not all chemicals are bad, and we can find unsafe substances in other products like food, furniture, and medicine. However, even tiny amounts of questionable chemicals can build up over time, especially if we use multiple products containing them. Let’s take caution to minimize our exposure and prioritize our well-being. Start by identifying which chemicals are worrisome!

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Over 100 consumer products may contain chemicals linked to cancer or reproductive and developmental problems, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. For example, diethanolamine (DEA), which is classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, was listed as an ingredient in forty items, including soaps, lotions, hair products, and household cleaners. It’s crucial to know which chemicals to avoid to protect our health.

Secondly, you can consult the Health Sciences Authority’s database (HSA). HSA is a statutory board under the Ministry of Health that ensures the safety, effectiveness, and high quality of health products in Singapore. It regulates and oversees medical devices, cosmetics, supplements, e-cigarettes, and other products. You can access their website at hsa.gov.sg for information on licensed dealers, product regulations, and health news.

Finally, it’s essential to consider how you use the products. Personal care items like shampoos, soaps, and lotions are known to contain toxic chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, which can cause hormone disruption, cancer, and other health issues. I remember having allergic reactions due to using shampoo containing phthalates and sulfates. The itching and red spots on my scalp caused me to find organic shampoos and other alternatives. It’s also crucial to note that skin lightening and anti-aging creams may contain dangerous levels of mercury, as found by researchers.

Pesticides used in gardening and pest control can contain harmful chemicals such as organophosphates, pyrethroids, and carbamates, which can cause acute poisoning. Long-term exposure to these chemicals has been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental delays.

Furthermore, certain types of air fresheners and scented candles can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful chemicals into the air, causing headaches, nausea, and other health problems.

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In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the toxic chemicals present in common household products and take steps to avoid or minimize exposure. Choosing safer and natural alternatives or reducing the use of these products can help protect our health and the environment. As consumers, we have the power to make informed decisions that can benefit ourselves and others around us.

Sources: 1 & 2


How to Save Money on Healthcare in Singapore

When it comes to healthcare costs, we are wired to believe that things cost the way they do. If you have an insurance provider, chances are, you are paying a premium on a regular basis. If you are uninsured, you might be avoiding visits to the nearby clinic or hospital.

You can still save money on healthcare! To get the most value for your dollar, follow these money-saving tips.


Do not get sick! One of the best things you can do to limit your healthcare costs is to establish a healthy routine that incorporates good nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management. Choose a wellness routine that works for you. When you nourish your body and spirit, you can have a meaningful impact on your future health and prevent healthcare costs.


Health insurance aids you in paying for your medical expenses when you get sick, get injured, or become disabled. Although all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are covered by Medishield Life, you may face some restrictions to your uses and claims. Payouts correspond to the prices for the Class B2 and C wards in public hospitals. So, you must be prepared to pay a large amount of money if you want to stay in a Class B1 or A ward. You can combat this by enhancing your health insurance coverage with an Integrated Shield plan.


Brand-name medications are more expensive than generic brands. From a medical standpoint, previous literature has shown that generic medications seem to perform in the same manner as brand-name medications. Instead of poking a hole in your pocket, you can opt for generics to reap its benefits.

For instance, you can pay S$11.50 for 100 tablets of Paracetamol (500 mg) instead of paying S$10.50 for 20 tablets of Panadol.


For mild conditions, you can visit your local pharmacy to ask for advice. According to Unity’s website, their pharmacists can assist you with advice on minor ailments, medication concerns, travel medication, and so on.

For instance, you can consult their pharmacists if you have questions on your medications for your constipation. If you are experiencing mild ailments such as constipation, you can skip the clinic queues and go straight to the pharmacy. However, you must see a doctor if you are certainly unwell.


Screen for Life is a national screening program that encourages Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents to go for regular health screening. Singaporean citizens only need to pay S$0 to S$5 per screening visit*. While Permanent Residents can check with their CHAS GP clinic on the screening test rates offered under the said program. The doctor consultation will be charged accordingly by the respective CHAS GP clinics.

Note: *Rates apply only at Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) General Practitioner (GP) clinics


If you are looking for a dental option for regular check-up and oral maintenance, search no further than the neighborhood polyclinic. Neighborhood polyclinics offer subsidized dental treatment and care. Both SingHealth and National Healthcare Group polyclinics have dental services, and it is easy to make an appointment online.

Recommended: 5 Most Affordable Dental Clinics In Singapore

Alternatively, you may utilize the company dental and health screening benefits. Check with your employee handbook or ask your Human Resources department to know which medical benefits you are eligible for.


The National Childhood Immunization Program offers immunization against certain diseases, which are fully-subsidized. Full subsidies* for vaccinations under this program are available for Singaporean children at CHAS GP clinics and polyclinics.

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Note: *This is applicable for certain vaccine brands. Refer to go.gov.sg/vaccine-list for the list of the latest subsidized vaccine brands.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, & 4


Singapore’s Total Number of Monkeypox Cases Grew to Four

Infection with the monkeypox virus causes the rare disease called Monkeypox. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus, which includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus, and cowpox virus. This disease, which can cause serious skin rash, appears to be spreading via direct contact with the skin or saliva of an infected person.


On July 8, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported one more imported case of Monkeypox in the country. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to four since June. The country’s Monkeypox cases consist of one local infection and three imported ones. The fourth case is a 30-year-old patient who lives in Singapore and had recently returned from Germany.

The man experienced rashes in the groin area last June 30 and had a fever a week later. He sought medical treatment and was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on July 7. He tested positive for monkeypox on July 8 and is currently in a stable condition, according to MOH. Contact tracing is ongoing.


Health authorities in Africa are treating its expanding Monkeypox outbreak as an emergency. To avoid the immense problems seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are exhausting their resources and are asking for other leaders to share the world’s limited supply of vaccines.

Monkeypox has been spreading in parts of Central and West Africa for decades, however the weak surveillance and the lack of laboratory diagnosis contribute to many cases being left undetected. Currently, countries in Africa have reported more than 1,800 suspected cases including 70 deaths with only 109 of them being lab-confirmed.

Ahmed Ogwell, the acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control, said:
“This particular outbreak for us means an emergency. We want to be able to address monkeypox as an emergency now so that it does not cause more pain and suffering.”


The World Health Organization said that the expanding monkeypox outbreak was worrying but did not yet warrant being declared as a global health emergency. The U.N. health agency said it would reconsider its decision if Monkeypox continued spreading across more borders, began infecting vulnerable groups, and showed signs of increased severity.

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Worldwide, more than 5,000 cases of Monkeypox have been reported in 51 countries (in time of writing). The majority of these cases are in Europe and no deaths beyond Africa have been reported.

Sources: 1,2, 3, & 4


Health Benefits of Chocolates

Here at Money Digest, we shared a variety of deals on chocolate. Its goodness does not stop there!

Did you know that the history of chocolate dates back to 2000BC? At the time, Mayans were the first to discover cacao fruit. They made chocolate out of it and drank it as a bitter fermented beverage mixed with spices of wine. It was readily available to all Mayan households.

To this day, chocolate is enjoyed as a dessert and a beverage all over the world.


Dark chocolate has many health benefits. The bioactive compounds found in dark chocolate may be great for your skin. You see, flavonols can protect against sun damage, improve blood flow, and increase skin density and hydration.


Dark chocolate has a high ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score. It reflects the measurement of the antioxidant activity in food. Dark chocolate is loaded with compounds such as polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins. All these are great antioxidants, which are crucial in assisting proper brain functioning.


According to research, compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). In the long run, it can help reduce cholesterol clogging arteries in the body.

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Cocoa was found to minimize the risk of death from heart disease by 50% over 15 years, according to a study of 470 elderly men. Another study showed that eating chocolate two or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%.


If you are looking for a mood booster, search no further than chocolates. Thanks to their flavanol, chocolates are known to help improve mood. Cocoa has been linked to feelings of calmness and contentment. Moreover, dark chocolate contains compounds that stimulate the feel-good chemical endorphins.


Apart from being mood boosters, chocolates can elevate your energy to help you fulfill your daily tasks. As an energy-rich food, it contains about 550 calories per 100 grams. Be sure to carry a bar of chocolates when you do physical activity!

Sources:1 & 2