Allergies CAN Appear for the First Time in the Elderly!
Although most patients with allergies develop symptoms of allergy during childhood or young adulthood, allergies CAN appear for the first time even in the elderly population!!! This fact is important as many elderly with allergies are misdiagnosed with sinusitis and other conditions for which they are treated with a number of medications which do little to help. Some even fail to seek treatment since they attribute their symptoms to the aging process or other non-allergy problems.
It is felt that many of these elderly patients develop allergies due to the "lifetime load theory" which states that living among a lifetime of exposure to pollen, dust, mold, etc can aggravate the immune system to the point that allergies develop much later in life than usual.
As such, if an elderly patient presents with symptoms that appear to be allergies, than you may be right even if the patient has never had allergies before!
Read more about this topic in an article published in the Wall Street Journal here.