Adult-Onset Allergies: What You Need to Know

If you’ve lived your entire life without allergies, you may not realize that the bouts of sneezing, runny nose, and red, itchy eyes you suddenly developed as an adult could be allergy symptoms. It’s possible to develop seasonal allergies, food allergies, and other allergies as an adult, even if you don’t have a history of them.

At Integrative Primary Care, internal medicine specialist Syed Farhat Zaidi, MD, and our entire care team are committed to helping patients in Houston receive the best in medical care. As part of our line of primary care services, we offer comprehensive allergy testing and treatments

If you’ve been surprised by adult-onset allergies, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about adult-onset allergies and how you can find relief.

What are allergies?

Allergies are extremely common, affecting more than 50 million American adults and children each year. When your immune system responds abnormally to harmless particles, called allergens, you have an allergic reaction. 

Allergic reactions cause your body to release chemicals, such as histamines. These chemicals trigger allergy symptoms. Symptoms vary depending on the allergen that triggered it, but they typically include red, itchy, and watery eyes, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, wheezing or coughing, headaches, itchiness, swelling in the airways and tongue, and fatigue. 

Sometimes someone can have a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This severe allergic reaction typically happens quickly after exposure to the allergen and requires a trip to the emergency room or a shot of epinephrine.

What can people be allergic to?

People can be allergic to almost anything, but some allergens are more common than others. Common things that can trigger allergies include:

For some people, allergic reactions begin in childhood. But for millions of other people, allergies can develop in adulthood.

Why do adults get allergies?

If you were allergy-free as a child, you may have assumed you’d be allergy-free as an adult. Unfortunately, allergies can develop regardless of personal history or age. In addition, adult-onset allergies can be caused by any allergen, including environmental or seasonal triggers, insect bites, foods, and medications.  

Researchers are working to better understand why some people develop allergies in adulthood. Because the immune system naturally weakens with age, experts believe this can cause some people to become more vulnerable to different allergens and conditions over time. 

Additional reasons you may develop allergies in adulthood include: 

Fortunately, there are options for diagnosing and treating many types of allergies. No matter how old you are when your new allergy symptoms strike, Dr. Zaidi and the team at Integrative Primary Care can help provide relief. 

How can adult-onset allergies be treated?

The key to keeping your allergies under control is identifying your specific allergen triggers. At Integrative Primary Care, we use comprehensive blood testing to uncover the root causes of allergies. 

Our in-house laboratory allows us to quickly analyze the allergens that are causing your discomfort, so we can create a customized treatment plan to help you find relief. While there’s no cure for allergies, Dr. Zaidi can minimize their impact on your life. 

Possible treatments for adult-onset allergies may include medications, epinephrine pens, corticosteroids, decongestants, saline nasal rinses or sprays, and trigger-avoidance therapies. 

If you’re ready to learn more about adult-onset allergies and how to find relief, book an appointment online or over the phone with Integrative Primary Care today.

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