What are allergies and how do they develop? Are you born to them? Can they appear later in life? Here is all you need to know about them.
An allergy is an immune system response to a foreign substance in your body. Although this substance is not in itself harmful, your body perceives it to be a threat.
This triggers your immune system to produce chemicals called histamines to fight off this foreign substance. The histamine chemicals cause the allergic symptoms like itchy eyes, a runny nose, or hives.
It was traditionally assumed that allergies were simply something that you either had or didn’t have. Either you were born with allergies and would suffer their effects your whole life, or you were not.
Scientists now know that things aren’t all that clear-cut; you can actually develop or even outgrow an allergy.
Can You Develop Allergies?
It is very common for young children to suffer from allergies. In fact, it has been found that one in five children has some form of allergy or asthma.
However, many people who have an allergy as a child will find they outgrow it in adulthood. This is most common for food allergies such as eggs and lactose.
While it is most common to outgrow your childhood allergies in your 20s and 30s, for some individuals, quite the opposite happens.
Allergies that are most frequently developed in adults include:
- Seasonal allergies – reactions to pollen or other plant substances are the most common form of allergy experienced by adults.
- Pet allergies – high exposure to the dander, saliva, or urine of an animal can cause you to develop animal allergies.
- Food allergies – while it is most common to develop a food allergy as a child and for its effects to lessen over time, this is not always the case. Some people will only develop a food allergy as an adult.
There is no clear-cut reason why some people develop allergies in adulthood. Scientists believe a range of factors can lead to allergy development.
For example, it is believed that if you are exposed to an allergen when your immune system is weakened (when you are sick or pregnant), then you are more likely to be allergic to this substance.
Alternatively, having little to no experience of an allergen as a child might cause someone to develop an allergy as an adult.
Another type of allergy that is worth mentioning is sun allergy. Many people with light skin are prone to sunburns that lead to itchy and inflamed skin.
Dealing With An Allergy
Whether you are suffering from an allergy that you have had your whole life or a new affliction, the first step is to get yourself tested. This will help you to ascertain the cause and severity of your allergy accurately.
Once you have understood more about your allergy’s severity and cause, you can focus on treatments and remedies. Medications and treatments for allergies include:
An allergy can develop at any time in your life, and its signs and symptoms can change and evolve as you age.
If you are noticing new signs and symptoms, you should talk to a doctor or a pharmacist about medications and treatments that can help you better manage your allergies.
Whether your allergy is new or old, you do not need to let its symptoms prevent you from living life to the fullest.