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.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.