Adult-Onset Allergies: Why You're Sneezing Now

Wyndly Care Team
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Why do I have allergies all of a sudden?

Sudden allergies can occur due to changes in environment, diet, stress, or exposure to new allergens. Additionally, adults can develop allergies they didn't have as kids. The immune system can overreact to harmless substances, triggering allergy symptoms. It's crucial to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis.

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Why Do I Have Allergies Now?

Allergies can develop at any age, often appearing later in life due to changes in your immune system, exposure to new allergens, or even moving to a new environment. Understanding why you're experiencing allergies now involves exploring several factors, including the prevalence of adult-onset allergies and environmental considerations.

Adult Allergies: A Common Phenomenon

The onset of adult allergies is quite common; your immune system's responses can change as you age. According to Wyndly, allergies can sometimes worsen over time, because your body and immune system undergo changes. This phenomenon may result in your body reacting to substances it hadn’t previously recognized as threats.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors contribute significantly to the development of allergies. For instance, climate change results in longer pollen seasons and increased pollen counts, exacerbating seasonal allergies. Also, moving to a new area with different allergens can trigger an allergic reaction. Similarly, spending more time indoors may increase exposure to allergens like dust mites or pet dander, leading to the onset of new allergies.

Is My Sneezing Due to Seasonal Allergies or Something Else?

Your sneezing could be due to seasonal allergies, environmental factors, or other health conditions. Distinguishing between these causes is crucial for effective management and treatment. Let's examine how seasonal and food allergies can lead to sneezing.

Seasonal and Environmental Allergies

Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, are usually triggered by allergens in the environment, such as pollen from trees, grass, or weeds. These allergies can cause symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Environmental changes, such as increased pollen counts due to climate change, can exacerbate these symptoms, making your allergies worse than in previous years. If your sneezing is seasonal or reacts to specific environmental changes, it could be due to these types of allergies.

Food Allergies

Food allergies occur when the immune system mistakes a certain food for a harmful substance, leading to an allergic reaction. While sneezing is not a common symptom of food allergies, it can occur in some cases. Other symptoms of food allergies include hives, swelling, stomach pain, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis. If you notice sneezing or other allergic reactions after eating specific foods, you may have a food allergy. As always, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

How Do Doctors Diagnose and Treat Seasonal and Environmental Allergies?

Doctors diagnose and treat seasonal and environmental allergies using a variety of methods, including allergy testing, medications, and immunotherapy. The goal is to manage symptoms and, where possible, target the root cause of the allergy.

Diagnosis of Allergies

Diagnosis of allergies typically involves a medical history review and specific allergy tests. Skin prick tests and blood tests are commonly used to identify the allergens causing your symptoms. In skin prick tests, small amounts of potential allergens are introduced to your skin using tiny pricks. If you're allergic, you'll develop a small raised bump. Blood tests, on the other hand, measure the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to specific allergens in your blood. A higher IgE level indicates an allergy.

Treatment of Allergies

Treatment of allergies aims to relieve symptoms and prevent allergic reactions. Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids are commonly used to manage symptoms like sneezing and congestion. Allergen avoidance, once the specific allergens are identified, is an effective prevention strategy. However, these treatments provide temporary relief and don't address the root cause of allergies, as described in this article.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

For long-term relief, allergists may recommend allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT), such as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). SLIT involves placing a tablet containing the allergen under your tongue daily. Over time, this can help your immune system become less reactive to the allergen, reducing symptoms. It's a recommended treatment for individuals with severe or chronic allergies.

How to Manage Your Allergies?

Managing allergies involves a combination of preventive measures, symptom control, and treatment strategies. It's crucial to identify your triggers, take measures to avoid them, and use appropriate treatments as prescribed by your doctor.

Scratch Tests and Shots

Scratch tests, also known as skin prick tests, are a common method for identifying allergy triggers. Small amounts of potential allergens are applied to your skin using tiny pricks, and a reaction indicates an allergy. Once your allergens are identified, allergen immunotherapy shots may be recommended. These shots contain tiny amounts of the allergen and are administered over a period of time. They aim to desensitize your immune system to the allergen, reducing your symptoms and need for medications.

In addition to these, maintaining a clean environment, using air purifiers, wearing sunglasses outdoors during pollen season, and showering after outdoor activities can help manage pollen allergies. Antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids can be used for symptom relief. However, for chronic allergies, it's essential to seek professional help. Chronic allergies can lead to complications like allergic eczema and sleep disturbances due to breathing difficulties, which require further treatment.

What Can I Do to Prevent Allergies?

Preventing allergies essentially involves reducing your exposure to the allergens that trigger your symptoms. This might include staying indoors on windy days when pollen counts are high or using air purifiers to eliminate allergens from your indoor environment.

Prevention Strategies for Allergies

Being aware of peak pollen times can help in scheduling outdoor activities when pollen counts are low. Regularly cleaning your home to reduce indoor allergens such as dust mites and pet dander is also beneficial. When outdoors, wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes from pollen, while showering and changing clothes once you're back inside helps remove any pollen that might have clung to you.

Moreover, maintaining a healthy diet and staying hydrated can boost your immune system, making you less susceptible to allergens. OTC antihistamines can be used as a preventive measure during allergy seasons. For chronic allergies, consult with your healthcare provider to discuss other preventive treatments like immunotherapy shots.

It's important to note that due to climate change, pollen seasons have become earlier and longer, making allergy prevention more challenging. However, keeping these strategies in mind and staying proactive in your approach can help manage and prevent allergies effectively.

When Should I Consult a Doctor for My Allergies?

If your allergy symptoms are severe, persistent, or interfere with your daily activities, it's time to see a doctor. OTC remedies might not be sufficient for everyone, and untreated allergies can lead to other health complications.

If allergies are impacting your ability to breathe or sleep, it's crucial to seek medical advice. Allergies can make it really hard to breathe and they can even make it hard to sleep, due to the histamine that forms in your body. Disrupted sleep and difficulty in breathing should not be ignored as these can lead to significant health issues over time.

Also, if you notice skin reactions such as rashes or eczema that flare up due to allergen exposure, it's advisable to consult a doctor. Allergic eczema is a skin condition that can be triggered by allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites, and pet dander. It's important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to manage such conditions effectively.

Remember, allergies are not just a seasonal nuisance but can have long-term impacts on your health and quality of life. Therefore, seeking timely medical intervention is imperative to managing your allergies effectively.

Live Allergy-Free with Wyndly

If you want long-term relief from your allergies, Wyndly can help. Our doctors will help you identify your allergy triggers and create a personalized treatment plan to get you the lifelong relief you deserve. Start by taking our quick online allergy assessment today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my allergies so bad right now?

Your allergies may be worse at certain times due to factors such as high pollen counts, changes in weather, or increased exposure to indoor allergens like dust mites or pet dander. Stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet can also exacerbate allergic reactions.

What is causing my allergies to act up?

Your allergies could be acting up due to exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, or certain foods. Changes in weather, especially during spring and fall when pollen counts are high, can also trigger allergic reactions.

Can you suddenly become allergic to medication?

Yes, it's possible to suddenly develop an allergic reaction to a medication, even if you've taken it previously without issue. This is because allergies can develop at any time, influenced by factors like changes in your immune system or increased exposure to the medication.

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