Most people develop allergies as children. But you can develop allergies at any age. Allergies can affect anyone, whether you are young or old, male or female, and regardless of your race or socioeconomic status.
Many people who develop allergies later in life may have had an allergic episode as a child but just don't remember it. And sometimes when children grow into teens, their allergies disappear for a while, resurfacing when they are adults. They may have just experienced a runny or stuffy nose, or mild rash not realizing it was due to exposure to an allergen.
Some people who have had no allergic symptoms as children do develop allergies later in life as an adult. The thought is that adults who develop allergies were not exposed to particular allergens as a child, and when they are exposed as adults, they develop sensitivities they didn't have before. This can happen when moving to a new area of the country where you are exposed to different pollens. Or it can occur if you get a new type of pet you didn't have before. It might take a few years of exposure before allergy symptoms surface. People who develop allergies later in life may also develop asthma, and the asthma could be severe.
If you develop allergies later in life, the symptoms are the same as when they develop earlier. An allergic reaction may occur anywhere in your body. It usually occurs in the nose, sinuses, throat, eyes, skin, airways in the lungs and even the stomach. To be sure symptoms are cause by an allergy, see your doctor. He may suggest allergy testing to determine exactly what's causing your symptoms. You may be able to take over-the-counter medications to control your symptoms. But if symptoms are severe, you may need prescription medicine or even allergy shots (immunotherapy).
Like other allergies, food allergies usually begin in childhood. But it is possible to develop food allergies later in life. The most common food allergies are to nuts, fish and shellfish. Children sometimes outgrow their food allergies. But when food allergies develop after the age of 20, they usually do not go away.
Some symptoms of food allergy include constriction of the airways, a swollen throat or lump in the throat that impedes breathing, a rapid pulse, dizziness, and even loss of consciousness and shock with a drop in blood pressure.