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Can You Develop An Allergy To Something You Weren’t Allergic To Before?

There is a belief that allergies are predetermined at birth. However, can you develop an allergy to something you weren’t allergic to before? Read on to know about it.

Can You Develop An Allergy To Something You Weren’t Allergic To Before?

One can develop allergies when their body detects any kind of foreign substance like pet dander, pollen grains, and it activates an immune system response to fight it off. This is a myth that all allergies are predetermined at birth. However, the real fact is that many allergies do not even develop until later stages in life. Some allergies develop during adulthood or in the 20s or 30s and so on.

It can also be said that many people experiencing adult-onset allergies or allergies in their adulthood are not experiencing those allergy symptoms for the first time, even if they think they are. It might be that they may be too young to remember it, or it could have been such a mild allergic reaction earlier that they might have ignored it or thought it to be any other cause.

What Causes You To Develop Allergies?

What Causes You To Develop Allergies?

Allergies can develop at any time in an individual’s life. Typically, allergies first appear early in life and then become a lifelong problem. But, allergies can also start all of a sudden as an adult. Usually, a family history of allergy puts you at higher risk of developing some types of allergies in your life.

Allergies develop when one’s immune system goes haywire. Almost all substances can begin to over-stimulate your immune system at any point in time, including pollen, pet dander, mold, and specific kinds of foods. And, when this occurs, the immune system releases lots of histamines, which in turn triggers common symptoms of allergy, such as, itchy and watery eyes, swollen nasal passages, digestive problems, and hives.

When Allergies Develop Typically?

Most people remember their first getting symptoms of allergy at a young age, about 1 in 5 kids have asthma or some kind of allergy.(1) In their 20s and 30s, many individuals outgrow their allergies, because they become tolerant to their allergens, particularly, the food allergens like grains, eggs, and milk.

However, it is possible for developing an allergy anytime in your life. You can even develop an allergy to something you aren’t allergic to before. It is unclear why some allergies develop in adulthood, mostly in one’s 20s or 30s.

Some adult allergies include seasonal allergies, pet allergies, and food allergies. Seasonal allergies develop due to pollen, ragweed, and few other plant allergens, especially during the fall or spring season.

Pet allergies are also common adult allergies. Being exposed to the pet danders, or skin flakes that slough off and turn airborne, and also chemicals from their saliva and urine that get on their dander can cause you to develop pet allergies.

It is noted that around 11% of adults in the United States have some kind of food allergy and almost half of them report their first noticing symptoms during adulthood, particularly to some kinds of fish.(2,3) Some other common food allergens in adults include tree nuts, peanuts, vegetables, and fruit pollen.

It is not very clear why allergies develop during adulthood. Researchers believe that a serious allergic reaction during childhood can increase your likelihood of developing adult allergies when you are re-exposed to that allergen at higher levels.(4)

Children having skin conditions like eczema and food allergies might develop symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as itching, sneezing, and sore throat and they get older. Then, these symptoms might fade for a while and might return in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, when they are exposed to an allergen

Final Words:

As for the question, “Can you develop an allergy to something you aren’t allergic to before.” The answer could be “Yes”. One can develop allergies at any time during a lifetime. You should see your doctor if you notice any new allergy symptoms and know about the possible treatment options, medicines, and lifestyle changes that might help in reducing your symptoms of allergies or might keep them under control.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 2, 2021

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