How Do Adult-Onset Allergies Differ From Childhood Allergies?

Do you have an annoying cough that won’t go away? Have you been feeling run down but don’t know why? Allergy symptoms can sneak up on you throughout your entire life, even when you’re well into your 70s. But why? If you have allergy symptoms, Ranjit S. Grewal, MD at Houston Family MD, can help, no matter when they start.

What’s behind allergies

Allergies affect more than 50 million men, women, and children in the United States each year. When you have allergies, your immune system has an abnormal response to something harmless. This reaction causes your body to release certain chemicals -- like histamines -- which cause your allergy symptoms to develop. 

Common substances that trigger allergy symptoms include:

Allergy symptoms can vary in severity from itchy and watery eyes to swelling in your tongue or airways. There can even be a dangerous, life-threatening response known as anaphylaxis. For some, these reactions begin in childhood. But, for many, they don’t start until adulthood. 

Taking a closer look at adult-onset allergies

It’s easy to assume that being allergy-free as a kid means you’ll be allergy-free as an adult. But your immune system can start misfiring no matter how old you are and regardless of your personal history. Adult-onset allergies can also be due to any allergen, from airborne substances and insect bites to foods or medications.

Allergy symptoms in both children and adults -- especially seasonal allergies like hay fever -- are on the rise worldwide. There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding allergies and what causes your body to overreact to certain substances, but several theories could explain the increase in allergy cases. One centers on more exposure to higher concentrations of certain triggers, sedentary lifestyles, and dietary changes. We could also be more susceptible to allergic reactions because of cleaner and more sanitary environments, which could suppress the way our immune systems develop. 

When you develop allergies and adulthood, additional factors can come into play. First, your immune system naturally weakens as you age. This makes you more vulnerable to specific issues, including respiratory infections like pneumonia. It’s also possible that you had allergy symptoms as a child that faded away, only to return later in life.

Some reasons why allergy symptoms might occur in adulthood include:

Whether your allergy symptoms strike in adulthood or childhood, Dr. Grewal can provide relief.

Managing allergy symptoms

The secret to keeping your allergies under control involves identifying your specific triggers. After performing on-site allergy testing, Dr. Grewal can develop a personalized approach to help keep your symptoms under control. These therapies often include:

Dr. Grewal might also recommend avoiding the allergens that trigger your reaction, but this approach may not be possible or realistic in all cases. For a personal consultation, call our office in Cypress, Texas, at 281-477-0525 or use our online booking tool to set up your appointment today. You can also send a message to Dr. Grewal and the team here on our website. 

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