Do Allergies Get Worse With Age?

An older man with allergies sneezing into a tissue.

In this day and age, millions of Americans deal with allergies of some sort.

Many people have had them for as long as they can remember. In fact, nearly 19 percent of kids and nearly 26 percent of adults have seasonal allergies. It's not uncommon to develop new allergies as you get older— as shown by the almost 7 percent jump in the statistic— but do allergies worsen with age?

Dealing with allergy symptoms can be easy one day and challenging the next, but that's not a good indicator of overall severity.

Before we dive into that, let's talk about the kinds of allergies that can develop with age.

What Allergies Can Develop as You Age?

If you develop allergies later in life, it’s not always allergic rhinitis or what you probably think of when you think of allergies.

Allergies develop when your immune system creates antibodies called immunoglobulin (IgE) in response to certain irritants. If you're exposed to that allergen, your body releases inflammatory chemicals like histamine, causing effects like your blood vessels dilate, your body producing more mucus, and your skin itching. 

This leads to allergic reactions, which manifest as familiar allergy symptoms like nasal congestion, a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes or skin. Essentially, your symptoms are caused by your body's reaction (or overreaction) to allergens.

Common allergies that get more common with age include:

  • Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever
  • Food allergies, such as to dairy, peanuts, and shellfish
  • Pet allergies, or allergies to pet dander 
  • Skin allergies, such as to metals in jewelry or chemicals in skincare products
  • Drug allergies, such as to antibiotics like penicillin or substances containing iodine [1]

Adult-onset allergies can develop at any time during adulthood, and experts aren't sure why allergies may develop. 

Possible triggers for adult-onset allergies can include:

  • Having a pet for the first time or after many years
  • Moving to a new region with allergens you've never been exposed to
  • Exposure to allergens when your immune function is reduced or compromised

Research has shown that adult-onset allergies are becoming more common in older adults or those who are 65 and older. This may be caused by physiological changes to their tissue structure or from changes to their immune function.

So Do Allergies Get Worse with Age?

While allergies can become more common with age, they don't necessarily get worse with age.

The severity of your allergies can fluctuate with age. It could be the opposite— as you get older, you can develop a tolerance to some allergens or outgrow them completely. It’s also possible to suddenly find yourself allergic to something that’s never bothered you before.

However, just because allergies don’t necessarily worsen as you age doesn’t mean you should ignore them.

As we mentioned earlier, a number of factors can contribute to adult-onset allergies. This can make diagnosing and treating them difficult because their symptoms can be similar to other diseases or health conditions. Most relevant allergy studies are also typically conducted in childhood and do not account for the normal physiological changes that occur as we age. [2]

More research is needed better to understand adult-onset allergies, particularly among older adults. It's also especially important to pay attention to diagnostic tools; while the same diagnostics are used for all ages, it can be more difficult to arrive at a diagnosis for older adults because their physiologies and health needs are so different from the children or younger adults that are typically diagnosed.

No matter when your allergy symptoms have developed, it's important to find ways to prevent them from making you miserable. Thankfully, there are productive ways to do so at any age for any kind of allergy.

5 Easy Ways to Keep New Allergies Under Control

Allergy symptoms are irritating enough if you've been dealing with them all your life, but they can be especially awful if you're dealing with new allergies and symptoms. 

1. Decongest with SinuSonic

If nasal congestion is driving you crazy, SinuSonic can help you decongest naturally. 

SinuSonic combines gentle pressure and light acoustic soundwaves to clear your sinuses without drugs or messy irrigation. It's normal to need to blow your nose while using the device— that's a sign that it's working!

Just a few minutes twice daily is all you need to help keep your airways open with SinuSonic. Long-term use can also help you breathe more efficiently by increasing ciliary motility in your nose and increasing the amount of nitric oxide your sinuses produce as you breathe. Nitric oxide is a natural smooth muscle relaxant with anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antiviral properties.

You can use SinuSonic alone or in conjunction with your normal allergy treatment. However, avoiding overusing nasal sprays is important because excessive use can worsen your congestion and cause harmful long-term side effects.

2. Allergy-Proof Your Home

If you have indoor allergies like a dust mite allergy, keeping your home clean goes a long way in preventing your allergy symptoms.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Sweep and vacuum regularly
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to help remove allergens from the air
  • Dust surfaces like shelves, tables, and screens weekly
  • Use your kitchen fan while cooking to vent out smoke, moisture, and cooking fumes
  • Prevent mold by wiping up excess moisture around the house

Related: How to Allergy-Proof Your Home

3. Reduce Pet Allergens

We all love our pets, but having a pet allergy can cause a lot of unpleasant side effects when all you want to do is spend time with your furry, feathery, or even scaly friends.

But don't worry; you and your pets can still peacefully coexist even if you're allergic to them. Or, more specifically, their dander, saliva, or even their feces.

In fact, the best ways to keep pet allergies to a minimum are already things you’re probably doing with your normal pet care.

  • Wash your hands after playing with your pets to remove allergens like dander or saliva
  • Clean tanks, cages, or litterboxes weekly, and wear protection like a mask and rubber gloves to reduce further the allergens you're exposed to
  • Brush pets often to reduce shedding
  • Keep pets off the furniture, including your bed
  • Bathe dogs often to reduce shedding and dander

4. Keep an Eye on Pollen Levels

For those with a pollen allergy, their seasonal allergy symptoms are entirely dependent on each day's pollen count.

Monitoring daily pollen levels is the best way to prevent pollen season from driving you crazy.

Sites like keep track of the daily pollen count in your area and provide an “allergy forecast” for each day. They also list which allergens are in the air that day, such as grass, weed, or tree pollen.

You can also prevent pesky pollen from causing problems by keeping your doors and windows closed on high pollen days and using fans or air conditioning to keep your home cool.

Related: When Does Allergy Season Start? A Month-by-Month Guide to What Makes You Sneeze

5. Avoid Environmental Irritants

Nonallergic rhinitis isn't the same as your seasonal allergies or indoor allergies. However, they share multiple symptoms, including nasal congestion, a runny nose, and sneezing.

To prevent these symptoms, avoiding any environmental irritants that could trigger your symptoms is important. These can include:

  • Smoke, including cigarette smoke or wildfire smoke
  • Smog
  • Chemical fumes, such as paint fumes or those from household cleaners
  • Perfume or artificial fragrances
  • Strong odors

Allergies: The Age-Old Annoyance

If you're an allergy sufferer, you've probably experienced your symptoms for most of your life. It's not uncommon to develop new allergies as you age, but it doesn't mean that they're getting worse. In fact, it's also possible to develop a tolerance to allergens that used to bother you previously.

However, if you're experiencing new allergy symptoms that you've never dealt with before, especially if you're 65 or older, talk to an allergy specialist. They can conduct a full battery of allergy testing so that you know exactly what's causing your symptoms. Finding the right treatment for what ails you is infinitely easier if you know what the problem is.

Allergy symptoms getting old? Give SinuSonic a try!

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  1. Sadick, Barbara. “5 Types of Allergies That Can Become More Common with Age.” AARP, 1 Dec. 2022,
  2. De Martinis, Massimo, et al. “Allergy and Aging: An Old/New Emerging Health Issue.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aging and Disease, 1 Apr. 2017,