5 Common Causes of Allergies

Allergies describe our bodies’ reactions to what would typically be something harmless, such as pollen, insect stings, mold, and animal dander. Some people experience mild allergy symptoms, such as hives, watery eyes, and a runny nose, while others experience life-threatening symptoms such as anaphylaxis. Surprisingly, allergies affect millions of Americans annually, particularly concerning some of these common allergens below. 

Dust Mites  

Dust mites are tiny organisms commonly found in soft furnishings and household objects, such as carpet, mattresses, and even our pillows. Many people experience congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, and itchiness, and you can generally get an idea of when you should change your air filter in your home’s HVAC unit based on the severity of these symptoms. The more dust mites in your home, the more severe your symptoms might be. Fortunately, frequent HVAC unit filter changing and vacuuming with a HEPA filter may help reduce related symptoms. 

Pollen

At least 24 million Americans experience hay fever, a pollen allergy also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. This allergy means you experience a reaction to the pollen of weeds, grasses, and trees, with symptoms similar to those experienced by people with a dust mite allergy. Staying indoors, closing your windows, and using air conditioning units might all be effective control methods for keeping your symptoms at bay. 

Animal Dander

While millions of Americans are pet owners, millions are also allergic to the dander their pets produce. Typically, reactions are caused by proteins from the sweat glands in our pets’ skin, which are then shed as dander. The most effective way to prevent an animal dander allergy is by not having pets, but few people would see this as a worthwhile sacrifice. As a result, other management options are popular, such as making bedrooms pet-free zones and using vacuum and air cleaners with HEPA filters. 

Food

Allergic reactions to food can happen within mere seconds or minutes of eating a specific food your body has developed an antibody to. Among the most common food allergies are tree nuts, nuts, shellfish, milk, and egg. 

While some food allergy symptoms are mild, such as hives and itching, some people experience breathing difficulty, nausea, vomiting, and swelling, which can cause a great deal of stress. Avoiding food you’re allergic to is the best course of action, and your doctor might also prescribe injectable epinephrine if the allergy is life-threatening. 

Mold

Mold is small fungi that can float in the air. While it can be present inside and outside, mold can be a health hazard when present inside your home. If you have a mold allergy, you might experience a range of symptoms like itchy and watery eyes, congestion, coughing, and sneezing. These can all be challenging to combat if the source of the mold isn’t identified and remedied. 

As mold likes to grow in damp areas like kitchens and bathrooms, it can be crucial to keep moisture to a minimum in these areas. Repair any leaks, ensure adequate circulation in your home, and keep windows open for ventilation. 

These common allergies can cause a great deal of discomfort for people who have them. Fortunately, many remedies are available for most allergies, such as frequent HVAC filter replacement, pet-free zones, medication, and adequate house ventilation. 

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