Allergies and aging: New allergies can develop at any age

When the fall season arrives in the Piedmont, beautiful fall foliage arrives, too. While the colorful leaves can be a sight for sore eyes, so to speak, the leaves may literally cause sore eyes for those with allergies.

Some people expect their allergy symptoms to strike when the seasons change, and others might not realize what they are experiencing is, in fact, an allergy. FOX8 went to the Allergy and Asthma Center of North Carolina and spoke with Dr. Sokun Bhatti, M.D., who specializes in Allergy and Immunology.

“People move here from different parts of the world, and, of course, there are different allergens in different parts. Here in North Carolina, we have a lot of beautiful trees and plants, and that is often the explanation for why they have developed new allergies, even though it is later in life for them,” said Dr. Bhatti.

According to Dr. Bhatti, allergies can develop at any time in life. Linda Pelter is an allergy patient who regularly goes for checkups at the Allergy and Asthma Center of North Carolina. Pelter saw an allergist for the first time when she was an adult.

“Things kind of changed after I had my children, and I had more symptoms. Every time I would go to the doctor with an infection, he would say that I have allergy mucus. So, I finally decided to just break down and see an allergist,” said Pelter.

Dr. Bhatti tells FOX8 allergies a person experiences as a child may not necessarily persist into adulthood. Specifically, Dr. Bhatti says in regards to food allergies, those to milk and egg are commonly outgrown, but those to peanut and shellfish will likely persist. Dr. Bhatti says the symptoms of asthma and allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, usually improve with time.

Dr. Bhatti says food allergies and asthma typically manifest earliest in life, but can still develop as a person ages.

“It just depends, really, on that person’s genetic makeup and their environment,” said Dr. Bhatti.

Drug allergies are something Dr. Bhatti commonly sees among older patients. She says the likelihood an individual will notice a new sensitivity to a medication increases if that individual is taking multiple medications.

With any allergy, Dr. Bhatti says never to ignore symptoms and to always follow up with proper care.

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