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.
You Dont Have These Symptoms
Colds and allergies share many of the same symptoms, so it can be tough to tell which one youâre going through. Because they share symptoms â such as coughing and congestion â itâs helpful to consider the symptoms that these two conditions donât share.
If youâre experiencing any of these symptoms, thereâs a good chance you have a cold:
- Severe headache
- Sore throat
Another way to tell the difference between a cold and allergies is the duration of your symptoms. Colds usually go away on their own in seven to 10 days, whereas allergies persist until theyâre treated or until the trigger is gone â which can take months depending on what you are allergic to.
If you know youâre allergic to pollen, you can try an app like Zyrtec AllergyCast to check the pollen counts and see if itâs a good idea to go outside.
Is It Possible To Suddenly Develop Allergies
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Medically Reviewed by UPMC Susquehanna
For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, you know that this time of year can be a challenge. Flowers, trees, and grasses are in bloom and growing which means pollen and other allergens are in the air. In the U.S., an estimated 18 million adults have hay fever or allergic rhinitis, caused by pollens, weeds, grasses, and molds. Other people may have environmental allergies to things like animals and dust mites. Did you know your allergies change and this year may be the first you experience symptoms?
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Who Is At Risk For Adult
Most people who are diagnosed with allergies as adults probably had an allergic episode earlier in life that they don’t remember. Often allergies follow a predictable course: eczema and food allergies in babies and toddlers, then hay fever symptoms in mid-to-late childhood. Allergy symptoms may fade during the teen years, only to return when you’re an adult.
Some people, however, do experience allergy symptoms for the first time in adulthood. This most often happens in your twenties, thirties, and forties rather than in later years. “As we age, our immune system does weaken that is why more seniors get pneumonia than 20-year-olds,” says Anthony J. Weido, MD, president of Allergy & Asthma Associates in Houston, Texas, and the Gulf Coast area. “As the immune system weakens, the hyper-allergic reaction also weakens,” he says.
Any type of allergy can occur in adulthood, including hay fever, pet allergies, and dust mite and mold allergies as well as insect bite, drug, and food allergies. Again, experts aren’t entirely sure why this happens, but theories include:
- being exposed to allergens when the immune system is weakened, such as during an illness or pregnancy
- not being exposed to a high enough level of the allergen as a child but reaching that threshold in adulthood
- moving to a new location with different trees, plants, and grasses
- getting a pet
When To Seek Professional Treatment
If allergy symptoms are affecting your quality of life, see your healthcare professional to have the allergy diagnosed and get the proper treatment and advice on reducing your exposure.
Seek medical attention immediately if allergy medications dont stop allergic reactions. Also, reach out to your doctor if you start reacting to any new drug prescribed to treat allergies.
Rush to the emergency department in life-threatening situations like anaphylaxis. If you have an epinephrine auto-injector, use it immediately if you sense a severe allergic reaction. You should still visit the emergency ward after the shot and schedule a visit with your doctor for further evaluation.
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Getting Help For Allergies
See a GP if you think you or your child might have had an allergic reaction to something.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can also be caused by other conditions.
A GP can help determine whether it’s likely you have an allergy.
If they think you might have a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to help manage the condition.
If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.
What Is Inhalant Allergy And How Is It Treated
The term inhalant allergy in the dog is often used as a synonym for atopy. The main inhalant allergens are tree pollens , grass pollens, weed pollens , molds, mildew, and house dust mites. Many of these allergies occur seasonally, such as ragweed, cedar, and grass pollens. However, others such as molds, mildew, and house dust mites occur year-round. When humans inhale these allergens, the resulting allergy primarily manifests with upper respiratory signs: runny eyes, runny nose, and sneezing . Although sometimes the symptoms of allergies include allergic rhinitis or bronchitis, in most dogs, inhalant allergy manifests with itchy skin . Due to these clinical signs, the condition is also called inhalant allergic dermatitis. The dog may rub its face, lick its feet and scratch the axillae .
“Symptoms of atopy can be controlled but a permanent cure is not usually possible.”
Most dogs that have inhalant allergy start showing signs between one and three years of age. Affected dogs will often react to several allergens and often experience concurrent flea or food allergies. If the offending allergens can be identified by intradermal skin tests or blood tests, the dog should be protected from exposure to them as much as possible. Because most of these allergens are environmental, this is difficult and recurrent bouts are likely. Symptoms of atopy can be controlled but a permanent cure is not usually possible.
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What Things Cause Allergies
Common Airborne Allergens
Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne :
Common Food Allergens
Up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies. Eight foods account for most of those: cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, and wheat.
Other Common Allergens
- Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite. But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.
- Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Many other others, including over-the-counter medicines , also can cause allergic reactions.
- Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives. Usually, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Some kids also have what are called cross-reactions. For example, kids who are allergic to birch pollen might have symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple is made up of a protein similar to one in the pollen. And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy are more likely to be allergic to foods like kiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.
What Causes You To Develop Allergies
Allergies can develop at any point in a persons life. Usually, allergies first appear early in life and become a lifelong issue. However, allergies can start unexpectedly as an adult. A family history of allergies puts you at a higher risk of developing allergies some time in your life.
Allergies develop when your body thinks a substance such as animal hair, pollen, or mold is harmful. That substance awakens your immune system to release a chemical called histamine, which leads to your allergy symptoms. As you age, your immune system may start to weaken, so your response to an allergen also weakens. Repeated exposure can also cause your immune system to overreact. If you develop allergies as an adult, you may have had slight symptoms throughout your life, but an event such as a move or a new pet triggered your immune system to respond.
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It’s Not Just You Who’s Suddenly Having Seasonal Allergies
The World Allergy Organization reports that the prevalence of allergies has risen in industrialized countries over the past 50 years. In 2018 alone, more than 19 million adults in the U.S. were diagnosed with hay fever , according to the CDC. Meng Chen, M.D., an allergist at Stanford Universitys Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research, says her office is seeing more cases each day. Its something I oftentimes hear from patientsIve never had allergies, and all of a sudden, I, an adult, have developed all of these allergies, she says. What the heck is going on?
For one thing, the world is warming up, and that leads to longer allergy seasons as much as 27 days longer, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Then theres all the moving around we dothe average 30-year-old will have already moved about six times in their life. If some resident in your building has cats, or your new bedroom faces a field of sagebrush, you may develop a reaction youve never experienced before.
Quick Dose: Do Seasonal Allergies Develop With Age
Allergies can strike any time, and its not uncommon for them to develop later in life.
One theory as to why adults may get allergies is that they may not have been exposed to many allergens as a child. For example, people who lived on farms may have fewer allergies than people who grew up in the city. Its also possible to experience an allergic episode earlier in life, only to have symptoms temporarily fade during adolescence.
Getting a pet or moving to a new region in the country with different foliage can trigger new symptoms. Often, it can take three years of being exposed to a certain seasonal foliage before you develop symptoms.
Many environmental changes across the country are creating a higher concentration of airborne pollutants. These pollutants can worsen symptoms of asthma and allergies in people with allergic disease.
Allergies can be a nuisance, so discuss your symptoms with an allergist to pinpoint specific triggers and find some relief.
Baiju Malde, MD, Northwestern Medical Group, allergy and immunology
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Can You Suddenly Become Allergic To Peanuts
Food allergies are much more complex than some people imagine and theres a lot we dont fully understand, including exactly why some people develop food allergies and others do not. While food allergies are most often diagnosed in childhood, they can be diagnosed anytime throughout the lifecycle. In addition, food allergies may be more transient than we first believed, as research shows that some people who have become tolerant of an allergy through immunotherapy lose protection when they stop immunotherapy. In addition, significantly more adults than children report convincing food allergies. Lets take a look at the what the research tells us about food allergy prevalence and some important considerations.
How many people have food allergies?
Do food allergies develop more often in childhood or adulthood?
According to an earlier study of 1,111 medical charts of food allergic adults from an allergy clinic, approximately 15% of these allergic adults had developed their food allergy during adulthood. The most common time frame for food allergy development in this population was in their 30s. The five most common food allergies in this adult population were shellfish , tree nut , fin fish , soy , and peanut . Like the previous study mentioned, these patients did not undergo oral food challenges, which is a significant limitation to the study. In addition, the data was collected from just one clinic.
Do Allergic Reactions Increase With Age
Over 20% of the reported allergy cases occur when people are in the early 50s or late 40s. And that is due to the changes in their immunity that is actually a natural part of ageing.
However, its quite rare to develop allergies for the first time at an even older age. Usually, some symptoms of intolerance would have been present throughout earlier years.
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Allergies Take Time To Develop
Even though it may seem like your childs symptoms popped up suddenly, allergies actually take time to develop in children, pediatric allergist Kathryn Ruda Wessell, DO, says.
Allergic rhinitis can be caused by either an indoor or outdoor allergen, Dr. Wessell says. With outdoor allergens, you have to live through the season a few times to become sensitized. We tend to see outdoor triggered seasonal allergy symptoms in children after age 3, classically ages 5 to 6. Indoor allergen triggered symptoms can be seen earlier, as early as 1 year of age because of things theyre exposed to in the home on a regular basis, such as dust mites and pets.
According to Dr. Wessell, some people are exposed to a foreign substance or allergen and have no symptoms, while others come into contact with an allergen and have allergic reactions, including a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing.
Age also matters. Allergic reactions that are triggered by allergens, such as pollen, dust or pets are more common in children up to 20 years old. After that, its usually thought to be non-allergic rhinitis, which isnt caused by allergens, but rather by substances like smoke, chemicals, environmental irritants, hormonal changes and/or physical defects of the nose.
The way that allergies evolve in children even has a name, says Dr. Wessell.
The allergic march includes these conditions:
These four diseases can overlap or appear in different order in a childs life, Dr. Wessell says.
Cutaneous Type Iv Allergies
Delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reactions are mediated by inflammatory cytokines produced by infiltrating T lymphocytes and activated dendritic cells in the skin. Cytotoxic effector immune pathways are induced by topical haptens, that easily penetrate the dysfunctional aged skin barrier. Moreover, in the elderly the activation of negative regulatory pathways is also less efficient in down-regulating the inflammatory response Symptoms of the acute phase are erythema, blisters and itching if it persists, the vescicles are replaced by scaling, and the skin becomes very dry and itchy.
Nichel and balsam of Perù or fragrance represent the two allergens, most frequently detected with patch testing in the elderly, although several substances may be at the origin of contact dermatitis in older people. Also paraphenylenediamine, a substance present in dark hair dyes, is frequently reported positive. The long term application of topical medications used for venous stasis ulcers is associated with high incidence of multiple contact allergens.
The range of severity of skin drug eruptions goes from an asymptomatic rash to a life-threatening emergency, they have high frequency, morbidity and potential mortality. For these reasons it is important to be able to promptly recognize, work up, and treat patients with possible dermatologic drug reactions.
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Types Of Food Allergies
Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.
- IgE-mediated food allergy the most common type, triggered by the immune system producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E . Symptoms occur a few seconds or minutes after eating. There’s a greater risk of anaphylaxis with this type of allergy.
- non-IgE-mediated food allergy these allergic reactions aren’t caused by immunoglobulin E, but by other cells in the immune system. This type of allergy is often difficult to diagnose as symptoms take much longer to develop .
- mixed IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies some people may experience symptoms from both types.
Read more information about the symptoms of a food allergy.
Allergy Clinic In Mississippi
If you find yourself coughing and sneezing in adulthood, the skilled doctors at Mississippi Asthma & Allergy Clinic can help. Weve spent years on the diagnosis and treatment of all sorts of allergies, no matter the age of the sufferers. Schedule your appointment today at one of our five convenient locations!
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Infants And Allergies: What Should Parents Watch For
While infants rarely suffer from environmental allergies, they can experience traditional allergy symptoms, like rashes and nasal congestion, from other causes. Learn the signs of infant allergies and how to monitor them as they get older.
As any parent can attest, when your young child comes down with a stuffy nose or a rash, it can be difficult to pinpoint the actual cause is it due to a cold, an allergy, or something else? In fact, allergies are the most frequently reported chronic medical condition children experience and food allergies may affect as many as 8 percent of all children.
An allergy is the bodys overreaction to a substance in a food thats either ingested or just present in the environment. And these culprit substances are called allergens. The causes of allergies in young children arent always clear, but allergists have determined that genes can play a strong role. If both parents suffer from allergies, the risk of their child having allergies is about 70 percent. If one parent has allergies, the risk is lower, at about 33 percent.
Infant Allergies to Foods
Foods are the most common cause of allergies in children under age 1, explains Dr. Renner. Mothers who breastfeed may see signs of food allergy when they start to introduce solid foods at about 4 to 6 months.
The most common food allergies in young children are: