Sep 1, 2021
Can You Outgrow Allergies?
3 minute read
Paw Patrol and talking back to parents might seem completely different, but they’ve got one thing in common: children will (probably) outgrow them. But some things seem like they never change with adulthood, such as seasonal allergies. While there are new advancements with various allergy shots, allergy skin tests, prescription decongestants, nasal steroid sprays, and more, allergies can still be problematic.
Many allergens begin at a young age and can persist for many, many years. But is there relief in sight? Can you grow out of allergies in the same way you (hopefully) grew out of eating hot dogs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Let’s answer this age-old question so you can know what to expect as your allergies develop through your lifetime.
When Do Allergies Start?
Were you the “weird kid” in school who kept sneezing during math class? Or did you have to carry around a pack of tissues in your rolling backpack to stop your runny nose? or dab your watery eyes? You probably had allergies. Allergic rhinitis, hay fever, recurring sinus infection, nasal congestion, headaches, and sore throats are all allergy symptoms that can develop at a young age. Unfortunately, prevention of allergies isn't possible.
While allergies can start at any age, the most commonly developed by the time you reach ten years old. And unfortunately, they’ll probably continue to gradually worsen over time until they reach their peak in your mid-20s. This is especially true for seasonal allergies (spring allergies are the worst—thanks to pollen).
What Exactly Causes Them?
Not everyone is unlucky enough to start sneezing because of mold spores, pet dander, exposure to trigger allergens (like certain chemicals or indoor allergens), or pollen. It all comes down to the way your immune system functions. Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance and perceives it as harmful, even when it might be something as innocent as a tiny peanut. When you come into contact with this allergen, your immune system reacts with nasal discharge or inflamed nasal passages, sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, cold symptoms, body aches, or hives to try to dispel the substance and prevent more from coming in.
In children, the most common allergens include:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
- Dust mites (mite-proof mattresses and pillowcases are often needed)
- Some common pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
While a peanut pizza with a side of hard-boiled eggs is sure to be a nightmare for many young children regardless, the good news is that they may naturally outgrow some of these food allergies.
According to The Mayo Clinic, 60 to 80% of children will outgrow milk or egg allergies by the time they reach age 16. However, peanut and tree nut allergies are less commonly outgrown, with only about 20% or 14% of children outgrowing them, respectively. As for seasonal allergies, most people tend to outgrow them by the time they become an adult.
How do you find out if you’ve outgrown an allergy? Definitely not by trying the foods you’re allergic to. If you’re still allergic, your body can go into anaphylaxis, a life-threatening emergency. When this happens, your body becomes hypersensitive and can go into shock. You’ll need to get tested by a professional or use one of our at-home testing kits.
All in all, it’s hard to say whether or not you’ll outgrow your food or seasonal allergies. Some people do, while many people don’t. So what do we do about that portion of the population who’s plagued with overactive immune systems?
It turns out there are a few ways to get relief.
How To Reduce Allergies
Over-the-counter medications are quick and effective ways to get relief from allergy symptoms. Just pop in a pill, spritz in some nasal spray or plop in some eye drops, and you’ll be feeling like yourself in no time. But those antihistamines usually only last for a short period of time, and they only treat the symptoms of allergies rather than the source.
If you’re hoping for something stronger, we’ve got you covered. It’s called sublingual immunotherapy, which is hard to say, so we just call it SLIT. SLIT is the only clinically proven way to reduce the underlying causes of allergies to give millions of people relief from things like dust mites, pollen, and ragweed. SLIT is an alternative way to treat allergies that don’t involve injections. They’re tablets that go under your tongue to boost your tolerance to allergens while also reducing symptoms. They might finally bring you the relief you’ve been trying to achieve ever since your first sneeze as a little kid.
Allergies are very much linked to genetics, so you can blame mom and dad for your inability to eat Reese’s Cups without breaking out in hives. However, you might be able to stop the trend for generations by trying this simple trick for preventing food allergies in kids of your own. All you need to do is give your baby small amounts of certain foods that cause allergic reactions. A study found that doing this decreased the child’s likelihood of developing food allergies as they grew up! With that said, there are lots we still don’t know about this phenomenon, so tread with caution and speak with a doctor before trying this. The only other way to prevent allergies is to avoid the things that trigger them ultimately. This can be easier for people with food allergies than seasonal allergies unless you decide to lock yourself in your room from spring to fall. That’s where allergy relief supplements or long-lasting immunotherapy tablets can do the trick.
Food allergies are a common nuisance for kids and teens that prevent them from eating some delicious treats. While some allergies like eggs or milk are often outgrown through adulthood, others such as nut allergies don’t have as high a success rate. The good news is that there are still ways to get relief, even if your body can’t do it by itself. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) tablets are a clinically proven way to reduce the underlying causes of allergies rather than just the symptoms. To learn more about if SLIT is the perfect fit, click here.
Reviewed by Dr. Payel Gupta
Seasonal Allergies (Hay Fever) (for Parents) | Nemours Kidshealth Likelihood of Child Outgrowing Food Allergy Depends on, Type, Severity of Allergy | The Mayo Clinic
Anaphylaxis - Symptoms and causes | The Mayo Clinic Children's Health The latest on a simple way to help prevent food allergies in kids | Harvard Health
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