Can You Outgrow an Allergy?

Man blowing his nose

Allergies are never pleasant to deal with, even if your allergies are relatively minor and your triggers are easy to avoid.

Perhaps you’ve heard stories of people who have seemingly “outgrown” their allergies: Over time, they just don’t have the same reaction to the allergen that they once did.

This may leave you wondering: Can you really outgrow an allergy?

First, Let’s Examine How Allergies Emerge

Although many people notice allergies emerge during childhood or adolescence, an allergy can emerge at any point in your life. This can even happen to allergens you’ve been repeatedly and regularly exposed to throughout the course of your life, even if you’ve never previously reacted to them.

For those who develop allergic reactions later in life, there are a variety of reasons that something that has never bothered you before may cause problems.

Some common reasons allergies develop, regardless of age, include:

  • Family history: If close family members, especially your parents or siblings, have allergies, you are more likely to develop allergies.

  • Changes to environment: Some people see their allergies develop when they move into a new home, relocate, or start working at a new office that may have a new allergen or have a higher concentration of that allergen.

  • Changes to the immune system: Changes to your immune system, such as recovering from a serious illness, can trigger a reaction to allergens that previously weren’t a problem.

Similarly, your body can become more used to an allergen, causing you to no longer react to it.

Developed Immunity to Allergens

Over time, exposure to lower levels of an allergen, whether in the air or ingested, can cause your body to build up an immunity to the allergic reaction. In this way, some people can “outgrow” their allergies.

In children with food allergies - an estimated 4 to 6 percent of American children - a significant portion will eventually outgrow their allergies. Among children with allergies to milk, eggs, wheat, and soy, that number is roughly 85 percent; in children allergic to shellfish, peanut, and tree nuts, it’s approximately 15 percent.

The same can happen for adults with allergies. Occasional, low-level exposure - under the guidance of an allergist - can inoculate you against your allergen.

Think of this process as one similar to vaccination. With vaccines, the body is exposed to low doses of a virus in an effort to teach the body how to fight off the infection.

Over time, the body can also be “taught” to fight off an allergic reaction, either through directed exposure through immunotherapy or general environmental exposure.

Skilled Allergy Doctors in Mississippi

Whether you have lived with allergies all your life or you’ve recently developed them, you need a trained, knowledgeable team behind you to help you stay safe and healthy. At MSAAC, our doctors are trained specifically in diagnosing and treating allergies, and we make use of all the tools at our fingertips to help you get the care you need. Schedule an appointment today!