While allergies are common, it is still unknown exactly why some people develop allergies and others do not. Even though the exact reason is unknown, multiple studies indicate that genetics play a role in determining whether or not you will develop allergies.
Are Allergies Genetic?
Multiple studies show that the development of allergies can be influenced by genetics. About 50% of chronic allergies are hereditary or passed down from parents to children. There’s a 50% chance that a child can develop allergies if one of the parents has one. If both parents have allergies, children are more than 75% more likely to get allergies. However, environmental factors, lifestyle, and medical history can also impact someone’s likelihood of developing allergies.
Are Specific Allergies Inherited?
Some children can develop a condition known as atopy, an increased likelihood of developing allergies due to genetics, but others with no family history of allergies also develop an allergic condition. While there is a chance that you will develop allergies through genes passed down from your parents, it isn’t guaranteed.
Common allergic conditions are often grouped when linking allergies and genetics. They include; asthma, hay fever, atopic eczema, and food allergies. These conditions appear to be related and follow a particular pattern regarding an individual's genetic susceptibility. It’s also important to note that most children with eczema are more likely to have food allergies.
Who Gets Allergies?
Allergens, such as substances like pollen and pet dander, are not harmful to people’s immune systems. But when someone with allergies encounters an allergen, their body’s immune system mistakenly identifies the allergen as a threat to their body. This causes the body to initiate a defense response, treating the substance as an invader and fighting it off.
After encountering an allergy trigger, the immune system will produce immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. The body will also release histamine, a chemical that will cause allergy symptoms affecting the eyes, nose, lungs, throat, and gastrointestinal tract to fight off the allergen.
Other Risk Factors for Developing Allergies
Research studies indicate that environmental and genetic factors are common causes of chronic and food allergies. While it is hard to tell why people have allergies, there are some theories about factors that increase the likelihood of developing an allergy.
Researchers suggest the following risk factors:
- Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
- Environmental changes
- Viral respiratory infections
- Exposure to high concentrations of allergens in one’s environment
- Increased antibiotics usage
Common Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms can be frustrating to deal with. They also can have some similarities with other conditions, such as the common cold. It is important to know what symptoms to be on the lookout for to know if you are having an allergic reaction. While most people will experience their allergy symptoms slightly differently, some of the most common allergy symptoms include:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Scratchy throat
- Watery and red eyes
- Itchy eyes, ears, or mouth
- Aggravated asthma symptoms
If you experience difficulty breathing or any other symptoms of anaphylaxis, a severe and life-threatening allergic response, immediately seek emergency medical attention.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergies
It is important to identify exactly what you are allergic to to get the best treatment for your allergies.
Diagnosis of an Allergic Disease
The first step to identifying what you are allergic to is taking an allergy test. There are two main methods of allergy testing:
Skin Prick Test
Generally, skin prick tests involve pricking your skin with small amounts of different allergens. If you are allergic, you will likely develop an itchy hive in response to the allergen. These tests must be performed by an allergist at a doctor’s office.
At-home Allergy Test
At Wyndly, our at-home allergy tests are convenient and easy. Unlike skin prick tests, they can be done from the comfort of your home. At-home allergy tests only require a quick finger prick, so they don’t result in uncomfortable allergy reactions. Once you submit your allergy test, our allergy doctors will interpret your results and create a personalized treatment plan to get you allergy relief.
Managing and Preventing Allergies
One of the best ways to decrease your symptoms is by limiting exposure to your allergy trigger. However, this has proven to be an uphill task for airborne allergens. If you are unable to avoid your triggers, allergy medications might be able to provide the relief you need.
Over-the-counter allergy medications can help reduce your allergy symptoms. It's important to note that these medications will not treat the root cause of allergies but provide short-term relief from the inflammation that accompanies allergic reactions. The most common types of OTC medicines for allergies include:
- Saline nasal sprays
Generally, histamine is a common factor that causes allergies, which is why most medications focus on limiting histamine movement in the body while responding to a particular allergen.
Unlike OTC medications, sublingual immunotherapy is a long-term allergy solution. Sublingual immunotherapy exposes your body to small doses of allergens. Over time, your immune system becomes desensitized and stops responding to your triggers. This results in a life free from allergy symptoms.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
If you have allergies and want long-term relief from your symptoms, choose Wyndly. Our allergy doctors will create a personalized treatment plan to get you living free from your allergies. Take our quick online assessment today to see if you’re a candidate!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There a Chance That You Can Develop Allergies?
Anyone can develop allergies at any point in their lives. If you have parents or siblings that are allergic to pollen, animal dander, and dust mites, then there's an increased risk that you'll become vulnerable to allergies.
Can You Outgrow Your Hereditary Allergies?
With sublingual immunotherapy, you can retrain your immune system to stop reacting to the allergens that you are allergic to. This can help you get rid of your allergies for long-term relief.