There are countless types of allergies; each type has its own set of symptoms, which can range from mild to life threatening.
Allergies can be divided into two categories: seasonal and perennial. The latter occurs year-round, while seasonal allergies appear during specific times of the year, generally during spring when trees and flowers bloom. They can also occur in the fall, when ragweed is at its worst.
How can you reduce seasonal allergies?
There are steps you can take to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. Avoiding the allergy trigger is first and foremost. Stay indoors when pollen counts are at their peak, especially on dry, windy days. This usually occurs during the early morning and evening hours. Close windows and run the air conditioner.
If you have to go outside, wear sunglasses and consider a dust mask. When driving, keep the windows rolled up and the AC running. Back indoors, change out of the clothing you wore, and shower to rinse away pollen from your skin and hair. Using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter indoors can help keep the air clean.
Over-the-counter medications can help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Antihistamines will help reduce sneezing, itching, watery eyes and runny nose. Popular choices include Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra and Alavert. Decongestants pills such as Sudafed and decongestant nasal sprays like Afrin help with nasal congestion.
Irrigating the nasal passages with saline with a Neti pot can also prove beneficial. If medical treatment is ineffective, talk to your doctor about alternative options such as immunotherapy (allergy shots).
Individuals with mold allergies experience immune system reactions whenever mold spores are inhaled. Symptoms are similar to those that occur with other types of allergies and include a stuffy or runny nose, itchy and/or watery eyes, wheezing, cough and postnasal drip. Some people might develop a rash or hives.
Mold allergies can trigger asthma attacks in those who are susceptible.
Molds are extremely common, both indoors and out. Because they are a type of fungus, they thrive in moist, dark places. Not all molds cause allergic reactions, and not everybody who breathes in mold spores will experience symptoms.
Who has the highest risk for developing mold allergies?
Those whose work exposes them to mold (e.g., farmers, loggers, wine growers), who live in moist or humid environments or who live or work in a building with excess moisture or poor ventilation have a higher risk of developing mold allergies.
How can you prevent mold allergies?
Take steps to prevent mold growth when possible. Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in the home, and eliminate water sources from moisture-prone areas such as basements. Use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter, and make sure your home is properly ventilated. Be sure to run the ventilation fan when taking a shower or bath. Avoid installing carpet in bathrooms and basements.
How are they treated?
Treating mold allergies involves the same medications you would use for dealing with seasonal allergies. Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays can all help relieve symptoms. A prescription drug called Singulair has proven helpful in the treatment of mold allergies.
Your immune system’s primary goal is to keep your body healthy. In the case of food allergies, your immune system mistakes harmless food proteins as a threat and attacks. Large amounts of immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody, are produced. IgE causes the release of histamine and other chemicals, which can trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
What foods cause allergies?
While any food has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, there are eight foods that account for almost 90 percent of all food allergies:
- Tree nuts.
What are the symptoms of food allergens?
The symptoms of food allergies can range from mild to life threatening. Mild symptoms include:
- Itchy mouth.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Stomach pain.
Severe symptoms include:
- Swelling of the lips, tongue and/or throat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Turning blue.
Any one of these severe symptoms or a combination of mild symptoms can be the sign of a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. In the event of this reaction, epinephrine should be administered and the patient should be taken to the hospital immediately.
Mild reactions can be treated with antihistamines, such as Benadryl or Zyrtec.