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Allergies and Aging is Nothing to Sneeze At

March 12
17:22 2018

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Are allergies more of an affliction of children and younger adults? No!

While many allergies do show up in youth, they can actually manifest themselves at any age and they can develop suddenly or slowly.

As a child, the only thing I was allergic to was poison ivy. It was more than just a typical breakout with exposure to poison ivy, I was so allergic that one time when I was in elementary school, my family drove down to south-central Illinois to look at a couple of lots they had just bought near a lake. It was December and there was 4 inches of snow on the ground. The only time I was out of the car, was to step out on the dirt road next to the car. Two days later, I broke out with poison ivy blisters from head to toe.

Other than this, I had no allergies, that is until I grew older.

I was always around animals, dogs, cats, horses, cows, mice, snakes, rabbits and a host of other animals. When we went hunting, I always helped clean and skin whatever we killed and never had a reaction.

Then when I was about 40, I started having some kind of reaction in my underarms and torso and the doctor said it was an allergy to the type of body soap I showered with. I changed to a different, more neutral soap and no more reaction.

A couple years later, I began having a red, irritating rash around my waistline and on my chest. Found out it was an allergy that I had suddenly developed to certain laundry detergents.

Around the same time, I was stung by a wasp on my arm and it swelled up and turned real red. I had been stung by bees, wasps and scorpions and never had a reaction, but suddenly, I was allergic to wasp stings.

About three and half years ago, someone moved in with us and they had a long-haired cat. I had never been allergic to cats before, but I really reacted to this one. They were with us for 3 years and I had allergy problems the whole time. At one point, the allergy got so bad that it caused one of the ear drums to rupture. When they moved out and took the cat with them. My allergies subsided as we did our best to clean up all the cat hair that was everywhere.

It seems that the older I have gotten the more allergy problems I have and I’m finding out that I’m not alone.

Dr. Beth Corn, an allergist in New York City reported:

“As the population is aging, we’re seeing that people can have late-onset allergies.”

My wife has also seen an increase in allergy problems as she has aged and while this may not seem to be a big deal, it can be. Doctors have found a strong link between allergies and asthma. Around the time my allergies seemed to develop, I was told by my doctor that I had developed mild asthma.

My wife has now developed an asthma related condition that was recently diagnosed as a form of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). She has been prescribed a treatment which includes an emergency inhaler.

I asked my doctor about allergies and aging and was told that there seems to be a number of older folks who are developing allergies later in life and sadly, many of them also seem to develop forms of asthma and COPD. The doctor told me that allergies in older people are nothing to sneeze at because if they are not properly controlled, they can develop into more serious respiratory conditions that could shorten one’s life.


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HLA Staff

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