Allergies: What To Expect As You Age
Does it feel like your allergies are getting worse? Have you suddenly developed new allergies that you can’t explain? If you are experiencing itchy red eyes and a runny nose, they may be triggered by seasonal allergies. Perhaps you are experiencing new allergic reactions to food, drugs/medicines, or animals. You may not realize that allergies can suddenly on-set in adult years because of the aging process our bodies go through. Springtime is beautiful because trees bloom, the grass grows, and flowers fill fields everywhere. However, this is also the time when allergies are at their highest. Allergies are usually intense in early childhood between the ages of 5 and 16 and they tend to subside by the early 30’s.
Here’s a few things to think about in regards to allergies and what you can expect as you get older:
- Your body has been exposed before (repeatedly sometimes) to the allergy. While you may think the more exposure you get to an allergen the better your body will react, it is not necessarily true.
- Your body reacts to the chemical composition of an allergen or more specifically to an enzyme called a protease. Signals go off in the body alarming the immune system that there is a threat even if the allergen would not necessarily harm the body.
- Antibodies are produced during the introduction of an allergen to help us fight it off. This production of antibodies can cause your body to react with mild symptoms like developing an irritating rash. In some cases an allergy can lead up to anaphylaxis, which is life threatening.
- Furthermore, other allergies may develop after a major change in your life like moving to a new state or country where environmental allergens can be different. Additionally, bringing home a new pet may trigger a strong response from your allergies.
Reactions to medication and pharmaceutical drug products can also develop as we get older. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and resemble those of food allergies. Common symptoms are itching, sneezing, dizziness, hives or in extreme cases, anaphylaxis may occur. A common allergy that develops is one towards anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen.
The following over the counter medications can provide relief from mild allergies:
Mucolytics like guaifenesin
It’s always a good idea to follow-up with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss other options and drugs that can be prescribed to you.