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When New Allergies Strike at an Unexpected Time

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
ANNOUNCER: Allergies don't just appear during childhood. Adults can suddenly develop common symptoms, too.

Beth E. Corn, MD, Allergy Specialist: Runny nose, postnasal drip, which will manifest as a scratchy, itchy throat, sneezing. And then, in the worst-case scenario, you'll see a wheezing. And sometimes people will present with itchy skin and with runny, watery eyes.

ANNOUNCER: It's not clear why people develop allergies at all, but one theory suggests a lack of exposure to allergens in childhood is partly to blame.

Jeffrey: My house at home was extremely, extremely clean. And so I wasn't affected by those sort of allergens as a child. Maybe I would have been, because I'm allergic to it now. But I sort of wonder if I would have sneezed a little more a child, maybe I would sneeze less as an adult.

ANNOUNCER: Sometimes, allergies lessen as mysteriously as they started.

Beth E. Corn, MD, Allergy Specialist: You'll see patients who will tell you that they did have allergies in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and now they're in their 60s and 70s, and the allergies have subsided. Why that happens no one really knows.

Jeffrey: They've gotten mildly better over the last two years, which I'm happy about.

ANNOUNCER: When allergies attack, the best first step toward relief is to keep a detailed history of your symptoms to share with your doctor.

Beth E. Corn, MD, Allergy Specialist: It's a win-win for everybody. The more accurate of a history you can give of your symptoms, it's extremely helpful for the physician. And in turn, it's extremely beneficial for the patient.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily.

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