Onset of Adult Allergies

 
Onset of Adult Allergies image

Nikki Nair, M.D.
Boys Town Allergy, Asthma and Pediatric Pulmonology

Did you know you can suddenly have an allergic reaction to something you have been exposed to your entire life? The grass and trees, foods, even common medications could become your trigger point. This is because our bodies have a threshold for a particular allergen and once we cross that limit our bodies become overwhelmed.

Crossing the Threshold

You may be more susceptible to allergens if you:

  • Have a weakened immune system (includes pregnancy or taking medication)
  • Change or move to a new location
  • Acquire a new pet
  • Have a family history of allergies
  • Had an allergy as a child

Indoor pollution is a factor in the onset of adult allergies. Excessive dust, dirt and recycled air particles can be a major trigger for an allergic reaction.

Allergy Symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Dry cough
  • Cold-like symptoms

If your cold-like symptoms do not disappear or greatly improve after two weeks, you may want to seek medical advice from your primary physician.

Allergies acquired in adulthood are most likely going to stay with you for life. Adults and children with allergies have three times the risk of developing asthma compared to those who are allergy-free. Other health complications from allergies may include ear infections and chronic sinusitis.

Treating Allergies

Many adults do not seek treatment either because they do not realize they are having an allergic reaction or they believe their allergies are mild enough that they do not require medical attention.

Adults who do seek medical treatment are given the same three-prong treatment system as children:

  1. to avoid the particular allergen
  2. use antihistamines to reduce allergy symptoms
  3. use of a nasal spray to reduce swelling or inflammation

A series of allergy shots can be administered to adults who have severe allergies or who are not responding well to other treatments.

It is important to remember that allergies can occur at any time and at any age. If you have any questions about allergies or concerns for your health, contact your primary care provider.

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