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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

A Rise in Adult Seasonal Allergies

man rubbing eyes from seasonal allergies

Svetlana Parnikova from Getty Images

Seasonal allergies are not just a concern for children and can develop or worsen as one ages. According to Dr. Gailen Marshall, the president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the prevalence of seasonal allergies among adults has increased, with about a quarter of U.S. adults reporting allergies compared to 19 percent of children.

Allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies harmless substances such as pollen or grass as threats, leading to symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes. Moving to a different region with different pollen seasons can also trigger adult-onset allergies. Societal and environmental shifts such as climate change, globalization and air pollution have contributed to the increased prevalence of allergies among individuals of all ages.

While it is possible for children to outgrow their allergies, it is more challenging for adults to do so. Lifestyle changes, such as spending more time indoors or moving to another region, may help some individuals see improvement in their symptoms. Immunotherapy, which involves gradually exposing the person to small amounts of their allergen, is known to be an effective treatment for allergies regardless of when symptoms start.

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