Allergies have a strong hereditary component meaning you have a greater chance of developing allergies if one or both of your parents has them. However, scientists do not believe that people inherit sensitivity to specific allergens, but instead inherit a general tendency to develop some type of allergy. Most people with allergies are allergic to more than one allergen.
A person can develop allergies at any age, whether that person is already allergic to several allergens or if that person has never experienced an allergic reaction to anything. Repeated exposure to a common allergenic substance increases anyone's risk of developing an allergy to that substance (e.g. someone who wears latex gloves every day for their job is at increased risk of developing an allergy to latex).
Continued on page 6: How do I know if I have allergies?