About Author: Nancy Piccione
Nancy Piccione has worked as a journalist, public relations professional, and homeschooling mom. She has a B.A. in English from Kenyon College and a masters degree from Northwestern Universitys Medill School of Journalism.She and her husband, Joseph, have called Central Illinois home for the past 25 years. They have three young adult children. She is a lover of book clubs, hiking, board games, and travel.
Can You Develop Allergies As You Get Older
Allergies develop when your immunity identifies dander, mold, or pollen as foreign objects. There is still a lot that experts dont know about allergic reactions, including what causes them in some cases. However, there are numerous theories that explain why we develop allergies as we grow older, with most of them focusing on the high concentration of airborne pollutants, sedentary lifestyle, dietary factors, rising dust mite population, and fewer ventilators in offices and homes.
However, the elderly are at higher risk of developing allergic reactions due to their ageing immunity. The changes in the immunity of their digestive tracts play a key role in developing food allergies too.
Can Allergies Develop In Adulthood
While the majority of allergies present themselves in childhood, adults are not immune to the onset of allergies.
Allergies to any substance can develop, even well into adulthood. More than 18 million Americans suffer from hay fever, and an even larger number develop allergies to environmental substances such as pet dander or dust. Foods and medications also present problems even for grown adults.
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Know Where To Go For Allergy Care: Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center
Allergies can begin in childhood, adulthood and anytime in between. If youre dealing with a new or persistent case of allergies, we encourage you to reach out to us at Carolina Asthma & Allergy. We serve patients throughout North and South Carolina and work with traditional allergy treatment methods as well as allergy shots and allergy drops.
Our board-certified doctors are experts in food allergies, asthma, insect bite allergies and other uncommon, yet often serious allergies that require specialized care. We even offer anaphylaxis prevention and treatment, immunotherapy care and treatments for the lungs, skin, throat, nose, ears, and eyes. To set up your appointment today, contact us today!
What Kind Of Physician Treats Adult Onset Asthma
Many older patients are treated for asthma by their internist or family physician however, if your asthma symptoms are not under control within three to six months, or if you have severe persistent asthma, or if you are having asthma episodes that need emergency treatment, it may be time to see an asthma specialist. Allergists/Immunologists or pulmonologists are specialists who treat asthma. Those who have completed training in those specialties are usually called board-certified or board-eligible.
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Food Allergies In Children
No parent wants to see their child suffer. Since fatal and near-fatal food allergy reactions can occur at school or other places outside the home, parents of a child with food allergies need to make sure that their childs school has a written emergency action plan. The plan should provide instructions on preventing, recognizing and managing food allergies and should be available in the school and during activities such as sporting events and field trips. If your child has been prescribed an auto-injector, be sure that you and those responsible for supervising your child understand how to use it.
In November 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act , which encourages states to adopt laws requiring schools to have epinephrine auto-injectors on hand. As of late 2014, dozens of states had passed laws that either require schools to have a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors for general use or allow school districts the option of providing a supply of epinephrine. Many of these laws are new, and it is uncertain how well they are being implemented. As a result, ACAAI still recommends that providers caring for food-allergic children in states with such laws maintain at least two units of epinephrine per allergic child attending the school.
What Are The Treatments For Adult
Allergies can affect every aspect of a persons life. If you think youve developed allergies, its important to visit your healthcare provider. Doctors can diagnose an allergy based on your symptoms and allergy testing . You should work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan. Some of the possible treatments for an allergy include:
- Prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines such as diphenhydramine or cetirizine to control your allergy symptoms. Antihistamine medications are available as pills and nasal sprays. Your doctor may ask you to take them at the start of allergy season for prevention.
- Allergy injections work like a vaccine. They can help to slowly build your tolerance to allergy triggers. You may need to take allergy shots regularly for a few years.
- Epinephrine auto-injector is a life-saving device that can help to reverse severe allergy symptoms such as a drop in blood pressure, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing. It is used in case of accidental exposure, such as an insect sting or exposure to other allergens that cause severe reactions.
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Treating Seasonal Allergy Symptoms: Medications That Help
The third option is to see an allergist for allergy shots . You typically stay on that treatment for three to five years. If your symptoms arent being controlled with medications, seeing an allergist for allergy testing and allergy shots is the next step. Oral allergy drops are a newer form of allergen desensitization that people can try for certain allergens .
If your allergy is life-threatening, you may need to carry around a special medication called epinephrine . If you experience anaphylaxis, immediately injecting a dose of epinephrine can save your life.
Adult Allergies: Can You Get Allergies At Any Age
You can develop allergies at any age, including as an adult. One common trigger for getting seasonal allergies later in life is moving to a new area with new allergens. Often, experts dont know why a particular allergy gets better or worse over time. Whether your allergies are new or old, allergy treatments involve avoiding the allergen when possible, treating your allergy symptoms, and getting allergy shots when necessary.
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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Reasons For Developing Allergies Later In Life Not Always Clear
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I didnt have allergies when I was younger. But now in my 40s, I seem to get allergy symptoms during the spring and summer. Is it possible to develop allergies as an adult? Should I get tested? If so, what do allergy tests involve?
ANSWER: You can develop allergies later in life, and there is definitely value in getting tested to see if your symptoms are due to allergies. If they are, the test results will give you information about what youre allergic to and help guide you as you decide on treatment. Allergy tests usually involve a skin test, a blood test or both.
Allergy development typically has two phases. During the first phase, called sensitization, you come in contact with a harmless substance, and your body mistakenly starts making allergic antibodies, called IgE antibodies, to fight that substance. Those antibodies dont do anything until you are exposed to the substance, or allergen, again. At that time, the second phase starts. The allergen binds to the IgE antibodies. That sets off a cascade of immune reactions in your body, such as itchy or watery eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing, among others.
If, as in your situation, allergy symptoms develop but you arent sure what you might be allergic to, or even if your symptoms really are allergies, it is worthwhile to go through allergy testing. The tests can show what you are sensitive to, and knowing that can go a long way to customizing treatment to your specific situation.
Which Allergies Are Most Common
While weve talked about allergies to things like dander and pollen, these are not the most frequent adult-onset allergies. Per the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or ACAAI and data published in 2017 from their Annual Scientific Meeting, the most frequent adult-onset allergies are those to food. In fact, food comprised nearly 50 percent of these allergies!
Which foods triggered the most allergies? Peanuts, shellfish, and tree nuts. The study discovered that Caucasian people were less likely to have peanut and shellfish allergies compared to Hispanic, Asian, and black people of adult age .
While, back in 2008, the rate of tree nut allergies among adults was only 0.5 percent, its jumped by 260 percent. As of 2017, when the study was published, that rate was now 1.8 percent.
In addition, in 2004, only 2.5 percent of adults were allergic to shellfish. Today, that number has seen a 44-percent spike, as 3.6 percent are affected by this seafood allergy in the United States alone.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or AAAAI added that younger children aged one through three years old were also getting more food allergies. That said, they had fewer instances of shellfish allergies specifically.
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Asthma Symptoms Can Mimic Other Illnesses Or Diseases Especially In Older Adults For Example:
- Hiatal hernia, stomach problems, heart failure, or rheumatic arthritis can create asthma-like symptoms.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has many of the same symptoms as asthma. COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is very common in older adults especially those who are or have been smokers.
Most Food Allergies Start In Childhood But That Doesnt Mean Youre In The Clear Protect Yourself By Staying Proactive And Informed
Food allergies are a big topic among children and their parents, but theyre something that should be on your radar too.
Today, nearly 15 million Americans have at least one food allergy. And according to recent research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, about half of adults with food allergies first experienced them after the age of 18.
You can develop a food allergy at any age, says Flavia Hoyte, M.D., an allergist and immunologist at National Jewish Health in Denver. In other words, you may have eaten a food your whole life with no problems and then suddenly develop an allergy to it.
Scientists arent exactly sure why this happens, and research on food allergies in adults is a fairly new area. But one factor for older adults: As we age, so does our immune system . This causes cells to start reacting differently to certain stimuli, including foods.
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Was It Something You Ate How To Tell If You Really Have A Food Allergy
Youve always enjoyed shrimp, but then one evening after savoring some scampi, you break out in itchy hives. Could it have been the shellfish?
Most allergic reactions happen quickly, right after youve eaten a food, says Princess Ogbogu, M.D., associate professor of medicine and director of allergy and immunology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Early allergies to ingredients such as eggs, milk, and soy often resolve during childhood, but they can resurface later. And at any point in your life, you can develop new food allergies or intolerances .
In fact, a study from the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that 51 percent of people with allergies developed at least one of them as an adult.
The good news: Food allergies affect less than 4 percent of adults. The number of people who have a food intolerance is probably higher, Ogbogu says.
Although the terms allergy and intolerance are frequently used interchangeably, theyre significantly differentand getting the right diagnosis will ensure that you find and follow the correct treatment plan.
Heres what you need to know to determine why a food is not agreeing with you and how to protect yourself from dangerous reactions or frequent indigestion.
Allergy Management And Prevention
To manage your allergies and prevent an allergic reaction:
- Avoid allergens, if possible:People who are allergic to pollen should stay indoors during higher pollen counts. Those allergic to dust or pets should live in a clean environment and avoid pet dander. If you have a food allergy, learn to read food labels and use care when dining away from home.
- Take allergy medications:Allergy medications come in different forms, such as tablets, sprays, or even injections. Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergies like allergic rhinitis or conjunctivitis. Your doctor may also recommend steroid creams.
- Consider taking allergy shots : If other medications dont work, your allergist may consider immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots. This method works by administering injections that contain small amounts of the allergens your body reacts to. Over time, your body will become immune to the allergens.
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Possible Treatments For Allergies
Here are some possible ways to treat your allergies, from seasonal allergies to severe food or contact allergies:
- Get a skin prick test: This test can help you see what specific allergens trigger your reactions
- Tell people around you about your allergies: Just in case you come into contact with a possible trigger, tell the people around you so that they know how to treat you
- Keep an EpiPen nearby: Having an EpiPen is essential if you interact with an allergy trigger
- Take antihistamines: Zyrtec or Benadryl can reduce your symptoms or keep them under control
- Consider allergy shots: Immunotherapy can gradually build your immunity within a few years of regularly getting shots
Yes, adults can develop allergies later in life. Some allergy symptoms are mild and require simple treatment, such as taking medication, while some symptoms are life-threatening.
If youre dealing with new allergy symptoms or persistent allergy symptoms, we encourage you to reach out to Allergy & ENT Associates. Our allergy clinic near Houston provides professional treatment in allergies, asthma, and other severe allergies requiring special care. Book an appointment with us today!
You Can Lead A Normal Life With Adult
If youre diagnosed with adult-onset allergies, it doesnt mean youre stuck dealing with bothersome symptoms. Good allergy treatment is based on your medical history, symptoms, and the results of allergy tests.
Our specialists at Southern ENT can perform a simple skin-prick test to zero in on the cause of your symptoms. This involves scratching your skin with various substances and watching for a reaction that would suggest youre allergic to that substance. Your provider may order blood tests if necessary.
Getting control of your symptoms is key to getting back to your daily life and regular activities. For allergy testing and treatment, schedule an appointment with one of our providers the location nearest you or filling out the appointment request form here.
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Can You Develop Allergies Later In Life Out Of Nowhere
Adult-onset allergies are certainly possible and can affect you at any age. Such allergies can start, seemingly out of nowhere, usually due to exposure to new allergens in your environment.
It is also possible that your immune system has reached its maximum limit and any existing allergens in your environment may trigger new reactions that were not there before.
In any case, there are a number of reasons why you might experience allergies out of the blue including:
- Lifestyle factors
- New allergens in your environment
- Family history
- Any other changes to your immune system.
How Common Are They
Nearly 18 million adults in the United States have hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. Itâs caused by pollens, weeds, grasses, and molds. Many more have allergic reactions to other things in the environment, like dust mites, dogs, and cats. Some are allergic to foods, like peanuts or shellfish. Still others are allergic to medicines, like penicillin.
Doctors donât know exactly how many adults are diagnosed with allergies for the first time. But nasal allergies affect more Americans every years, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
âAs the population is aging, weâre seeing that people can have late-onset allergies,â says Beth Corn, MD, an allergist in New York City. âNow, it could be that some people were not diagnosed they might have really had allergies earlier on. It just might be that people are also a little bit more aware now of allergies.â
Whatever the case, allergies are all over, and theyâre big business. Theyâre the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., according to the CDC. And they cost Americans more than $18 billion a year.
We know what causes allergies: Your immune system overreacts to an allergen . You sneeze, sniffle, itch, or cough. But why this happens to you, when your Uncle Fred is on their third shrimp cocktail, is unclear.
âThatâs the thing about allergies,â Corn says. âYouâre fine, youâre fine, youâre fine … until youâre not.â
Nobody knows why.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Allergies As You Get Older
Allergies can affect everyone differently, with some people exhibiting unique symptoms. These symptoms vary with the type of allergy affecting you. However, increased dryness or slower mucociliary transport time has been observed at the nasal mucosa. These age-related changes may result in:
- Nasal obstruction
Other types of breathing allergies include allergic asthma which targets the respiratory system and develops when there are increasing amounts of airborne allergens or polluted indoor air quality.Food and skin allergies among the elderly are also common and can manifest as:
- Bumps or hives
In severe cases, some allergies can also result in anaphylactic shock. If you or a loved one experience difficulty breathing or a severe allergic reaction, contact a medical professional immediately.
How To Manage An Allergy
In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible.
For example, if you have a food allergy, you should check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.
There are also several medicines available to help control symptoms of allergic reactions, including:
- antihistamines these can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
- tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
- lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams these can reduce skin redness and itchiness
- steroid medicines sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets that can help reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction
For some people with very severe allergies, a treatment called immunotherapy may be recommended.
This involves being exposed to the allergen in a controlled way over a number of years so your body gets used to it and does not react to it so severely.
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