Sneezing, hives, watery eyes, swelling, itching, cramping. Whether you’ve dealt with them your whole life or they’re a new symptom, allergies are an unfortunate but very real part of life for many children and adults.
Regardless of age, a new allergy can develop anytime, leaving you wondering why your body has suddenly become averse to something that never gave you trouble before.
What Is an Allergy?
How Allergies Develop
Phase 1: Sensitization
Phase 2: Exposure
- Increased blood flow in the affected area to get more immune cells to the area enlisted in the fight.
- Increased mucus production to trap microbes and keep them out of airways.
- Watery eyes to flush out contaminants.
When Do Allergies Usually Develop?
Common Allergy Development in Adults
Seasonal Allergies (Most Common)
With about 70% of households in the US owning a pet of some kind, it’s no surprise that pet-related allergies are high on the list. Though pets bring many other mental and physical health advantages, their dander (skin flakes), saliva, and urine can all trigger allergies for those with susceptible immune systems.
Why Do Allergies Develop in Adulthood?
Some adults develop allergies later in life, so the exact cause is hard to pin down and can vary from person to person. However, researchers have observed many different triggers that are related to adult-onset allergies.
- Moving to a new home or starting a new job. The change of location may expose you to new allergens that you didn’t previously have contact with.
- Little to no exposure to certain allergens in childhood. If an allergen has never been present in your life at levels high enough to cause a reaction, it might be overwhelming if you suddenly come into contact with it at high concentrations.
- Exposure when the immune system is compromised. If you are already sick and your immune system is fighting an infection, exposure to an allergen during this time can confuse the immune system resulting in allergic sensitization. The same can happen when individuals are pregnant or dealing with any other condition that impairs immunity.
- Getting a new pet. Though it’s likely a happy moment to bring your new friend home, it’s possible for those who have never had a pet before (or who haven’t had a pet for a long time) to experience allergies suddenly.
What To Do If You Think You’ve Developed an Allergy
It’s always best to be sure if you’re experiencing an allergic reaction or if another condition can explain your symptoms. Though treating symptoms alone can provide temporary relief, figuring out the root of your problems will allow you and your doctor to treat your ailments more effectively and make course corrections for your health.
Additionally, though many are aware that hay fever and asthma are linked to seasonal allergies, many other common ailments — such as migraines — might be caused by an unknown allergic reaction in some cases.
If you expect that you’re experiencing allergy symptoms, we urge you to get tested through an ImmunoLabs allergy panel to get to the bottom of your symptoms. These tests help specify any necessary treatment or lifestyle changes and empower you to make the right choices for your health and body.
Can Allergies Go Away?
It doesn’t happen in every case, but many patients have observed that their allergies lessen or go away entirely as they age.
Immune function changes and develops throughout your life, so some childhood allergies might reduce or disappear altogether in the teen years or adulthood.
Around 50, most people experience a reduction in their immune system’s activity, so people in this age group and beyond might also notice that allergic reactions are less intense than when they were younger.
Can You Prevent Allergy Development?
Natural Childbirth (When Possible)
Breastfeeding or Hydrolysed Formula
Variety and Quality of Baby Food
Avoiding Mold and Indoor Air Pollution
Best Treatment Options
Epinephrine Auto-Injectors (EpiPen)
When a Reaction is an Emergency
See a doctor or go to an emergency department immediately if an allergic reaction results in any of the following symptoms:
- Sudden hives or a rash
- Swelling of the face, tongue, and/or throat
- Gastrointestinal problems like abdominal cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Disorientation or confusion
- Anaphylaxis (low blood pressure, wheezing, and swelling or closing up of the throat)
- Any loss of consciousness