Allergies aren’t exactly desirable, but they can be useful indicators of mental health and seasonal shifts. A worsening of that mild cotton allergy might be a sign that you’re too stressed out, while the appearance of sniffles, watery eyes, and relentless sneezing could mean that a seasonal shift is in full gear. And as maddening as allergies can be, the good news is that they don’t always stick around forever.
The allergies you’ve had since childhood are the most likely to disappear—particularly dairy.
If dairy isn’t wreaking havoc on your digestive system the way it used to, allergist and immunologist Purvi Parikh, MD, told Self that it might be because you’ve outgrown your issue with it. Although food allergies can present themselves at any point in your life (and sometimes in any way, shape, or form) Dr. Parikh says the ones you’ve had since childhood are the most likely to disappear—with dairy at the top of the list, followed by peanuts and tree nuts. If you have a shellfish allergy, though, you’re probably stuck with it—it’s the least likely to change as you age.
But how exactly do you know if you’ve overcome an allergy? As far as food, Dr. Parikh says that if you notice you’re able to safely come into contact with a food that has historically set off an allergic reaction, you might be developing a tolerance for it.
Of course, this is not an invitation to play allergen Russian roulette in your kitchen. If you suspect—or are hopeful—that your pesky allergy is receding, see a doctor. Allergists can do medically supervised and scientific tests that don’t put your body (or gut health) at risk.