So, this leads me to my question: Do we develop allergies later in life? By later I mean as adults . . . not as we become grandparents. My research says, “yes” you can develop adult-onset allergies, from hay fever to food allergies. And worse, even if you’re an adult who doesn’t have allergies now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will remain allergy-free for life. Bummer.
This is what happens. When when your immune system mistakenly identifies a substance such as pollen, mold, animal dander, or food as harmful, allergies develop. That substance is referred to as an allergen. The allergen stimulates cells of your immune system to release certain chemicals, such as histamine, which then lead to allergy symptoms.
Depending on the allergen involved, allergy symptoms can involve the nasal passages, eyes, sinuses, airways, skin, and digestive system. Reactions can vary from mild to severe and, in some cases, cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition.
There doesn’t seem to be an answer as to what triggers these new, and unwanted, allergies. But, it is a fact that fever in the United States and around the world is increasing. Most theories as to why allergy symptoms have increased focus on “higher concentrations of airborne pollutants, rising dust mite populations, less ventilation in homes and offices, dietary factors, and sedentary lifestyles,” explains Deborah Pockross, MD, a physician at Kenilworth Medical Associates in Kenilworth, Ill., and staff doctor at Northshore University Health System in Evanston.
Another theory is even more interesting. It is the “hygiene hypotheses” which means that “a more sanitary environment [and less exposure to bacteria] increases susceptibility to allergic disease by suppressing the natural development of the immune system,” Dr. Pockross adds. In other words, our living conditions and food are so clean they don’t offer our immune systems enough to do, so our systems overreact to allergens instead. So, that’s the problem with using too much hand sanitizer! I knew there would be a negative reaction at some point!! We grew up with good old soap and water (and sometimes not even that) and we were just fine and our food tasted much better I’m sure!
Some people do experience allergy symptoms for the first time in adulthood. (I’m thinking this might be me) This most often happens in your twenties, thirties, and forties rather than in later years. “As we age, our immune system does weaken — that is why more seniors get pneumonia than 20-year-olds,” says Anthony J. Weido, MD, president of Allergy & Asthma Associates, a multi-location practice in the greater Houston, Texas, and Gulf Coast area. “As the immune system weakens, the hyper-allergic reaction also weakens,” he says.
Any type of allergy can occur in adulthood, including hay fever, pet allergies, dust mite and mold allergies as well as insect bite, drug, and food allergies. Experts aren’t sure why, but theories include being exposed to allergens when the immune system is weakened, such as during an illness or pregnancy. Also, not being exposed to a high enough level of the allergen as a child but reaching that threshold as an adult and also moving to a new location with different trees, plants, and grasses; or getting a pet (or three).
So, what’s a person to do when the pollen count gets past the point of reasonableness? Here to save you are some FIT TIPS:
1. Overhaul your home. It may not seem logical, but the cozy indoors is often worse for your allergies than the raw outdoors. Research shows that indoor air pollution can be up to 10 times greater than outdoor pollution and its effects much more intense, since we generally spend more than 90 percent of our time indoors.
2. Eat the right foods. (Didn’t you know I’d find a way to throw in healthy eating??) But, it’s true! Improper eating habits can cause health problems, and make existing ones worse. Eating the right foods can help alleviate many health problems, including asthma and seasonal allergies. Medical studies have repeatedly concluded that powerful chemicals called antioxidants — found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, green tea, and other foods and beverages — help battle inflammation inside your body, a critical factor in controlling allergies.
3. Lose your extra pounds. Obesity and being overweight have been linked to everything from heart disease to increased rates in cancer. Carrying extra pounds also makes it harder to breathe — Losing weight will make getting the oxygen you need easier.
4. Reduce stress. Every time you’re confronted with a stressor — whether a traffic jam, fire, or bounced check — your body releases a cascade of stress hormones. They, in turn, send a volley of signals to various parts of your body to prepare it for action. If this happens day in and day out without physical release, stress can inflict its damage by affecting the very network that is supposed to guard your health: your immune system. A weakened immune system increases your chances of allergic reactions. Find ways to manage your stress -and we all know some form of exercise is a great stress reducer!
5. Complement your regular allergy medication with alternative remedies. The following four substances, when paired with your regular antihistamine, may relieve allergy symptoms:
A daily multivitamin and mineral supplement that includes magnesium, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and all the B vitamins
1. A cup of peppermint or chamomile tea each night before bed
2. Your choice of herbal supplements, dried ivy leaf, or pycnogenol
3. A daily dose of echinacea taken two weeks on, two weeks off.
Credits: Reader’s Digest; www.everydayhealth.com/allergies/understanding-adult-onset-allergies.aspx
And if all else fails, we can all just move out west where the air seems to be nice and dry!
AND HERE IS MY FAVORITE FIT TIP!
It is just as good of a workout as running for 30!
Who doesn’t have time for that??
Do you have allergies? What do you do? Have you seen Hunger Games? Did you know there is a Hunger Games workout?
HAVE A FABULOUS, POLLEN FREE,
NO SNEEZING OR WHEEZING FRIDAY!