Are Allergies Genetic?

Most often—YES!  If you have allergies, you have a 50 percent chance of passing them on to your child.  If both you and your spouse have allergies, that percentage increases to a whopping 75 percent!

inherited allergies

Genetic components have been shown to apply to a host of allergy symptoms including eczema, asthma, and food allergies, all of which seemed to be markedly more common in children of people who have (or had) these symptoms themselves.

Of course, it’s not a sure bet.  There are plenty of allergic kids whose parents don’t struggle with allergies.  And while genetics are a strong contributor, environmental triggers can figure into the development of allergies, too.  These triggers include air pollution and encounters with various allergens over time.    Another factor is the “hygiene hypothesis” which asserts that people who grow up with less exposure to germs and bacteria (think heavy and frequent use of hand sanitizer!) never have the chance to develop a proper immune response to their environment.

The good news is that even if you inherited allergies, you’re not stuck with them.  Allergy immunotherapy (whether through shots or oral drops) is capable of “teaching” your immune system to stop overreacting to allergens in ways that lead to bothersome allergy symptoms.