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    Do I Have Chronic Allergies?

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    Will your allergy symptoms get better or even go away? Or are they “chronic,” which means they are here for the long run?

    The answer isn’t always simple. Each person's case is different.

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    Some people, most often children, may outgrow an allergy completely. Others find that with age, their allergy symptoms lighten up. That may be because the immune system can weaken with age, and perhaps can't muster as strong a reaction to the allergen.

    But as an adult, once you have an allergy, it usually doesn't go away on its own.

    When They Get Worse

    Some people find that their allergies worsen over time. That's especially true of allergies to foods, latex, or bee stings, which can result in more serious reactions with each exposure.

    Other things also make a big difference. All it takes is a heavy pollen season, or a new job in a moldy building, for allergies to flare up.

    Will You Get More Allergies?

    If your allergy symptoms seem worse, there could be another reason. You might now have a second allergy -- or third or fourth.

    Having one allergy makes you more likely to get others. So if one year your ragweed symptoms seem more severe, it might be a reaction to another allergen that's also in the air.

    Allergies can interact in unexpected ways. For instance, up to a third of people who are allergic to pollens also have allergies to foods that have similar proteins in them, like certain vegetables and fruits. Doctors call this “oral allergy syndrome. You could have more severe allergic reactions if you're exposed to both at once -- for instance, if you eat a banana at the height of ragweed allergy season.

    The key is to manage your symptoms and let your doctor know if you notice changes.

    Why Allergies Happen

    You might blame your triggers -- the pollen in the air, your best friend's cat -- for your symptoms.

    But actually, most of those things are harmless. What really causes allergic reactions is your immune system. It mistakes innocent things in your surroundings for a serious threat and attacks them. The symptoms you get are the result.

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