Atlanta Allergy & Asthma allergist, Stanley Fineman, M.D., recently contributed to a segment for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. The segment discussed the difficult pollen season being felt across the United States and how many seasonal allergy sufferers have never experienced allergy symptoms previously or were not diagnosed until adulthood.
Data released by the CDC earlier this year revealed that nearly one in three adults and more than one in four children in the U.S. have seasonal allergies, eczema, or food allergies.
According to the study, about one-quarter (25.7%) of adults have a diagnosed seasonal allergy and 75% of those are over the age of 45. Many of those either developed their allergies in adulthood or were not diagnosed until they were adults, reminding us that allergies can develop at any point in life.
People who develop allergies later in life understandably may confuse their symptoms with those of the common cold. Dr. Fineman spoke about the ‘itching’ component that accompanies allergies as a way to discern the source.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, seasonal allergies are on the increase. As the population ages, dealing with the effects will become even more important not only to quality of life, but also overall health. Undiagnosed or untreated allergies can lead to other health conditions like chronic sinusitis, asthma, sleep disorders, and headaches.
Climate warming trends and increased carbon dioxide levels are lengthening the ‘grow season,’ resulting in pollen seasons starting earlier, lasting longer, and producing higher pollen levels. Seeing a board-certified allergist sooner rather than later can save you from years of suffering.
No matter your age, identifying the cause of symptoms through allergy skin testing and developing an effective treatment plan are key. Allergen avoidance, over-the-counter and prescription medications, or allergen immunotherapy to retrain the immune system can reduce or even eliminate allergy symptoms.
See the segment from NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: