What causes allergies to develop later in life
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
- a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
- tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
- wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
- sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
- swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
- dry, red and cracked skin
The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.
For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you own a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.
See your GP if you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.
They can assist determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.
Read more about diagnosing allergies.
Managing Allergy Symptoms
If you're bothered by mild allergy symptoms from hay fever and the love, it's fine to attempt over-the-counter antihistamines.
If this doesn't assist, consult your doctor to law out other conditions and possibly get a referral to a specialist. An allergy expert can assist determine specific triggers, propose ways to avoid them, and perhaps offer medications.
If you suspect you own a food allergy, take it extremely seriously, as it can be life-threatening. Be certain to work closely with a board-certified allergist who will teach you about avoiding unexpected sources of the food and managing your allergy symptoms.
Allergies can be unpleasant no matter how young or ancient you are, but your medical team can assist you identify your allergy triggers and discover solutions.
Allergic disease is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the world.
People with a family history of allergies own an increase risk of developing allergic disease. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis), eczema, hives, asthma, and food allergy are some types of allergic diseases.
Allergy symptoms can range from mild to a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Allergic reactions start in your immune system. When a harmless substance such as dust, mold, or pollen is encountered by a person who is allergic to that substance, the immune system may over react by producing antibodies that «attack» the allergen. The can cause wheezing, itching, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, and other symptoms.
Who Is at Risk for Adult-Onset Allergies?
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 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 happen 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 certain 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 kid but reaching that threshold in adulthood
- moving to a new location with diverse trees, plants, and grasses
- getting a pet
What is the immune system?
The purpose of the immune system is to defend itself and hold microorganisms, such as certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi, out of the body, and to destroy any infectious microorganisms that do invade the body.
The immune system is made up of a complicated and vital network of cells and organs that protect the body from infection.
The organs involved with the immune system are called the lymphoid organs. They affect growth, development, and the release of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). The blood vessels and lymphatic vessels are significant parts of the lymphoid organs.
They carry the lymphocytes to and from diverse areas in the body. Each lymphoid organ plays a role in the production and activation of lymphocytes.
Lymphoid organs include:
Appendix (a little tube that is connected to the large intestine)
Lymph nodes (small organs shaped love beans, which are located throughout the body and join via the lymphatic vessels)
Spleen (a fist-sized organ located in the abdominal cavity)
Bone marrow (the soft, fatty tissue found in bone cavities)
Adenoids (two glands located at the back of the nasal passages)
Lymphatic vessels (a network of channels throughout the body that carries lymphocytes to the lymphoid organs and bloodstream)
Peyer’s patches (lymphoid tissue in the little intestine)
Thymus (two lobes that join in front of the trachea behind the breast bone)
Blood vessels (the arteries, veins, and capillaries through which blood flows)
Tonsils (two oval masses in the back of the throat)
Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.
This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.
Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.
Sheet final reviewed: 22 November
Next review due: 22 November
Those fortunate enough to skate through childhood and adolescence without itchy, watery eyes aren't immune from allergies for life.
Developing adult-onset allergies — from seasonal allergies to food allergies — is possible no matter how ancient you are.
Allergies develop when your immune system mistakenly identifies a substance such as pollen, mold, animal dander, or food as harmful. That substance is referred to as an allergen. The allergen stimulates immune system cells to release certain chemicals, such as histamine, which then lead to allergy symptoms.
Depending on the allergen, allergy symptoms can involve the nasal passages, eyes, sinuses, airways, skin, and digestive system.
Reactions can vary from mild to severe and, in some cases, cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition.
Why Allergies Now?
There's a lot experts still don't know about allergies, including what triggers them. They do know, however, that the prevalence of allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, is increasing in the United States and around the world.
Most theories as to why allergy symptoms own increased focus on "higher concentrations of airborne pollutants, rising dust mite populations, less ventilation in homes and offices, dietary factors, and sedentary lifestyles," says Deborah Pockross, MD, a physician at Kenilworth Medical Associates in Kenilworth, Illinois, and staff doctor at Northshore University Health System in Evanston.
Another theory is the so-called hygiene hypothesis — meaning "a more sanitary environment [and less exposure to bacteria] increases susceptibility to allergic disease by suppressing the natural development of the immune system," Dr.
Pockross explains. In other words, our living conditions and food are so clean they don't offer our immune systems enough to do, so our systems overreact to allergens instead.