(CBS 5) – Doctors are seeing an increase in adults with no childhood history of allergies sneezing, wheezing and coughing. A growing number of adults are developing what’s called adult onset allergies.
Just ask Donna Floridia. She said her daughter Faith was living her dream at the time that she lost her life. Faith was 20 years old and living a full and happy life when it came to a tragic end.
She was a student and a dancer and was working as a waitress when she began having difficulty breathing.
Her throat closed and she went into anaphylactic shock.
“They had her on life support and the question was what could this be?” Floridia said, “and they said it was the shrimp and crabmeat she was eating and I said we constantly ate shrimp how could this be? And they said she had a sudden onset of allergies.”
Faith died a week later.
Allergy specialist Beth Corn said while this case is unfortunate and tragic, adult onset tragedies are on the rise.
“You can be 60 and develop and allergy, it can come out of nowhere,” said Dr. Corn, who has seen allergies develop in adults of any age.
“You’re almost better off if you know you’re allergic to something at least you’re equipped,” explained Dr. Corn. “The doctor gives you an epi pen, you walk around with an antihistamine. But when it just comes out of nowhere and it’s the big attack, that’s really frightening.”
It happened to 20-year-old Johanna Trupp as well. She now carries an epi pen – a syringe of epinephrine to inject in case of a severe allergic reaction.
Her symptoms developed in only the last 2 years.
“When I was eating apples, I felt nauseous, I couldn’t stop salivating, I had this pain up by my ear and I was itching around my mouth,” said Trupp.
Regular medication didn’t help. “I was feeling out of breath when I wasn’t doing much exercise at all, so they kept pushing me on the inhalers,” said Trupp.
Trupp eventually found Dr. Corn, and after a series of tests, they determined she was allergic to a variety of things.
Doctors are not sure why more adults developing allergies. But one theory is that doctors are just a lot better at diagnosing the problem – -that chronic cough could actually be an allergy.
So pay attention to your symptoms. “Chronic runny nose, a post nasal drip that causes you to clear your throat a lot, nasal congestion, sinus pain, itchy watery eyes , an overwhelming sense of fatigue,” said Dr. Corn.
The fatal allergic reaction that Faith Floridia had was devastating.
Now her mother is making it her mission to inform others about symptoms so this won’t happen to anyone else.
It’s given her some small comfort in the most trying time.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ADULT ALLERGIES
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology – aaaai.org
Food Allergies – foodallergy.com
Beth Corn, M.D. – mountsinai.org/profiles/beth-e-corn