COMMON ALLERGY TRIGGERS

There are a very large number of different substances that cause or trigger allergies. Most people are aware of their particular allergy triggers and reactions. But often, the specific allergen cannot be identified unless you have had a similar reaction in the past. Many allergies develop with repeated exposure to the trigger. Very often, people who have one trigger have other triggers too.

Certain foods, vaccines, and medications, latex rubber, aspirin, shellfish, dust, pollen, mold, animal dander, and poison ivy are well known allergens. Some people have reactions to hot or cold temperatures, sunlight, or other physical stimuli that can provoke an allergy episode. Sometimes, friction from rubbing or vigorously stroking the skin will cause allergic symptoms. In addition, minor injuries, exercise, or even emotions may be triggers.

People with certain medical conditions are more likely to have allergic reactions.

  • A previous severe allergic reaction makes you more susceptible to an attack.
  • Asthma and eczema are linked to allergies.
  • With asthma, a reaction to any allergy-causing substance can worsen your asthma symptoms.
  • With lung conditions that affect breathing, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may be prone to allergic reactions.
  • Nasal polyps can be a factor.
  • Frequent infections of the nasal sinuses, ears, or respiratory tract can predispose you to allergic reactions.
  • Sensitive skin can increase your chances of allergy attacks.

Pollen is everywhere. It can trigger what is commonly called hayfever as well as seasonal allergies. Pollen count reports are often a part of the weather report. If you line dry your clothing, you should use the dryer on the days the pollen count is high. You can take some steps to prevent hayfever by staying indoors when it’s windy outside. Closing the windows and running the air conditioning also will reduce your exposure.

If you are having reactions from dust exposure, often the true culprit is dust mites. These are microscopic organisms that make their home in house dust. The symptoms are similar to a pollen allergy, but will continue throughout the year. The frequency of your reactions can be reduced by keeping your house and especially your bedroom free of dust collectors. Dust mite covers can be used on all of your bedding and using a hypo-allergenic pillow will help. Keeping your home at 30% to 45% humidity through the use of a humidifier will also help decrease the allergic episodes.

Molds are microscopic fungi with spores. These spores are present in the air like pollen. As you would imagine, mold is found in damp areas in your home like your bathroom. Outside, mold forms in the grass, piles of leaves, mulch or any area where mushrooms grow. Seasonal mold allergies occur in the summer and fall. However, if mold is present in your home you can have reactions throughout the year. To avoid mold reactions, stay away from activities which trigger your symptoms like raking leaves or cutting the grass during the peak mold season. Indoors, watch out for any evidence of water damage and repair it. The parts of your home that are naturally damp should be kept well ventilated. House plants should be avoided. The soil encourages mold growth.

The cause of a pet allergy is seldom the animal’s fur or feathers. The proteins from the oil glands in an animal’s skin can cause allergic reactions. The tiny scales of skin the animal sloughs off are called dander. Also, the animal’s saliva has similar proteins which can cause the same result. Pet allergies can take some time to develop. The reaction can linger for quite some time even with no further contact with the animal. Cockroaches can produce the same type of symptoms. You can minimize your reaction by staying away from animals. If you intend to keep a pet, do not allow it in your bedroom and try to keep it off of your upholstered furniture. You should bathe your pet weekly. For cockroaches, you should keep the trash in your home in closed containers and remove it regularly, daily if possible.

Insect stings can be deadly if you are highly allergic to them. At best, the swelling and redness from the sting may last a week or more. If you have a severe allergy, anaphylaxis could be the result. When outdoors, you should avoid brightly colored clothing and always wear shoes. These types of insects frequent the flowering areas of the garden and outdoor garbage receptacles; so you should use care in any activities in these areas. Cosmetics and hair spray with strong scents also attract these insects and increase your chances of being stung.

Latex is a common allergy trigger. Usually, the use of gloves made of latex is the source. However, condoms have been known to cause reactions. A latex allergy can also bring on anaphylaxis. As in the case of a severe insect allergy, it is recommended that you wear a medical alert bracelet and carry an epinephrine kit. You could avoid the use of any products containing latex.

The most common foods that cause allergies are eggs, wheat, nuts, milk and shellfish. Food additives and preservatives such as MSG are also known triggers for food allergies. Allergic food reactions occur very quickly. Symptoms, which usually include some form of swelling in the mouth and airway, can be severe. The best way to avoid a reaction is to avoid the food. However, this is not always possible when eating in situations outside the home. You can make it a habit to always ask about how the food is prepared.

You may develop an allergy to medication with repeated use. The degree of your reaction can be mild to severe. Swelling in the mouth and throat are the most dangerous of the symptoms to watch out for. You should inform your doctor of any medication allergies you are aware of so he can avoid prescribing them to you.

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