6 Most Common Allergies And What You Can Do About Them
Allergies can be a frustrating reality to have to live with as they impact your sinuses and nasal passages making it difficult to simply breathe. Other times allergies can negatively impact your skin or even your digestive system.
However, it’s interesting to know your immune system is simply reacting to a substance it believes as a harmful allergen, it’s just sometimes that foreign substance, like pollen or pet dander, isn’t actually out to get you.
Thankfully, there are preventative measures you can take, and different strategies to treat symptoms.
Here are some of the most common allergies and what you can do about them.
Pollen can often trigger what’s known as Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis which comes with a host of symptoms including sneezing, itchy eyes, nose, or even the roof of your mouth. A runny and stuffy nose is also common, combined with conjunctivitis, or watery eyes.
Some even complain of Hay fever though they spend time indoors during the summer, air conditioning units may be helping circulate the contaminated air blowing airborne pollutants or aircon allergens throughout your home. The pollen from plants can enter through doors or windows and find their way into your nasal passages. Other contaminants on this list can get in the same way, whether it’s mold and mildew from a damp humidifier or cooling coil, or pet dander, air pollution, or dust mites that can breed inside air conditioners, feeding on human skin. Gross!
Thankfully, one easy fix is checking your filter on your air conditioner. Experts suggest checking your filter about once every month during peak allergy season. A good clean filter should help trap the spores, contaminants, and airborne allergens that are trying to get into your home.
Symptoms of a possible contaminant getting through the air conditioner can include, sneezing, coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath, watery eyes, or digestive issues.
Along with regularly changing the filter, you can remember to keep doors and windows closed, be on the lookout for mold and keep humidity levels to 50 percent, as well as dust registers and vents.
2. Dust Mites
Dust mites, another gross reality many would rather not dwell on too long. These tiny creatures like to live, as their name suggests, in the dust, you often find in a home. While they’re so tiny you won’t be able to see or feel them crawling around, they do like to munch on the excess skin cells that naturally shed off people and they can thrive on bedding and carpets in a nice warm home. However, these little buggers can cause allergy symptoms ranging from sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, coughing, facial pressure and can make asthma symptoms worse like difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and coughing.
Some helpful tips to combat these tiny critters include using hypoallergenic pillows, washing sheets weekly in hot water, and generally keeping your home clean and free of dust.
Unfortunately, mold can thrive in many environments, both indoors and outdoors. Outside, mold can often be found in damp leaves, plants, and fields. Taking a shower after you’ve been outside for long periods of time is necessary. It can help avoid the spread of the spores that are trying to hitch a free ride on your clothes. Homes too can take advantage of humidity, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Going down into the basement can also be walking into enemy territory when it comes to mold. Also, be on the lookout for mold growing on old clothes or even old books. Instead, try and store things in water-proof containers and consider a dehumidifier to protect against excess humidity.
Excess condensation can also quickly become apparent after cooking or taking a bath or shower. While bathroom mirrors are likely the first to steam up, that humidity can also get into walls, doors, and wallpaper creating a breeding ground for mold. Running the dehumidifier for a period of time after these activities might be the perfect solution to any potential buildup of moisture and also help you avoid damage and expensive repairs in the long run.
If you spot mold growing on a hard surface like a bathroom tile, simply get out a bleach solution or soap product and scrub it away. If you have a sudden leak or accident that leaves a large water mess, be sure to clean the spill and mop up the water or liquid as soon as possible before that moisture can get somewhere you don’t want it to be.
4. Animal Dander
Just as humans shed skin cells, animals naturally shed which can trigger a pet owner’s allergies with the telltale signs of itchy eyes and runny nose, as well as activating asthma symptoms.
Other than simply staying away from certain animals, you may want to try washing your pet regularly. And keeping them off of the couch and bed, as well as consider medications like antihistamines to treat the symptoms.
5. Bug Bites
When insects bites then there are many people who have stronger allergic reactions which can range from annoying to life-threatening. Common insects that can cause one’s allergies to flare up include bees, wasps, and hornets. If you’re going outside for a longer period of time and know there will be insects buzzing in your vicinity, consider wearing long sleeves and pants, as well as keeping bug spray handy. You may also want to avoid eating outside, especially sweet treats and drinks.
Food allergies are common and while the type of foods that trigger one’s allergies can vary, the symptoms are often similar; swelling of the face or tongue, hives, rashes, diarrhea, or even difficulty breathing. Sometimes even a very small exposure to the food can cause inflammation and the reaction can again range from mild to extreme. Some of the most common food allergies include cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, and shellfish.
While it can be a hassle to live with a food allergy, it’s important to know your risks and work hard to manage your diet and environment to avoid those foods as best you can.