Allergies can be a cause of extreme discomfort for many people. There are different types of allergies; some examples of allergies are food allergies, pet allergies, and others that come from the environment. With spring here, trees, flowers, grass, and weeds are in full bloom. These and other factors called allergens can cause certain people to develop what we know as environmental allergies. A common misconception is that environmental allergies are only triggered by tree or grass pollen, but there are more factors that trigger these allergens. Environmental allergies in a person can be caused by different allergens.
What causes environmental allergies?
· Pollen: on trees, weeds, or grass
· Pet dander: dead skin cells from pets
· Dust mites: microscopic bugs that live in mattresses and furniture; they thrive in humid weather.
· Mold: can form in many parts of the home, even air ducts
· Cockroaches: the droppings can cause allergies
What happens to the body with allergies?
When an allergen is present, the body’s immune system reacts in defense against the foreign substance from the environment. This reaction can show up in different ways. Depending on the severity of the reaction, certain symptoms that may show up are:
· Swelling in certain areas
· Watery eyes
· Itchy eyes and/or skin
· Develop a rash
· Nasal drainage
· In some extreme cases affects breathing or even develop asthma
This really depends on how severe the allergies are. Some doctors will diagnose and direct you to an allergy specialist. Allergy specialists will then test you to find out which allergens are affecting triggering that reaction. There are two tests that can be conducted to determine what is causing your specific reactions. According to the Mayo Clinic , these tests are:
· The skin prick test: With this test, your skin is exposed to a small amount of an allergen and is observed for some time to notice if there is a reaction to determine if this allergen could possibly be the cause.
· The blood test: This one is used in two ways. One of them is for those who are not candidates for the skin prick test. The second way is used as a way to confirm the allergens. This is done by testing a blood sample.
What can help with the symptoms?
Depending on how severe the allergies are and if a specialist has diagnosed them, sometimes allergy shots, sublingual tablets, or prescription medication is required. Other times, remedies like over-the-counter medicine will be enough to deal with the symptoms. Some over-the-counter products can be allergy medicine, nasal sprays, or eye drops.
Other simple home remedies when allergies are not too severe:
· Using essential oils can be done through an oil diffuser, and certain brands sell essential oils that can be used on the body.
· Shower as soon as you come home and wash what you were wearing
Other things that can help with the symptoms:
· Deep house cleaning: this is constantly dusting, sweeping, mopping, and cleaning the furniture to get rid of the allergens.
· Vacuuming often is also key to ridding the house of dust and other allergens that can affect it. If pets live in your home, the vacuuming must be done more often, and all the deep house cleaning.
· Cleaning furniture and bedding: the furniture, such as the couch or chairs, can be wiped or even vacuumed. The bedding must be switched often and washed with hot water, especially if there are pets who live in the home.
· Make sure to use quality air filters. Air filters are critical as they trap pet dander and other allergens. Make sure that the air filters are still current to ensure that they are helpful. Most home air filters last up to 2-3 months; being mindful of this will help keep the air that is circulating clean. Air purifiers are also an excellent option to help keep the air as clean as possible.
· Cleaning out ventilation system: There are companies that specialize in duct cleaning; this procedure is highly recommended, especially when there are pets living in your house. What they do is perform a deep duct cleaning that gets rid of all the accumulation of dust, pollen, mold, or even debris.
It is important to understand what happens with your body and the options that you have to treat the symptoms. As was explained, there are many ways in which you can deal with the symptoms. Taking care of your environment is key in caring for yourself in many ways, including when dealing with environmental allergies. First, it is always recommended to talk to your primary care physician or an allergy professional when dealing with any symptoms. It is also important to consult them before deciding to use certain treatments, especially if you already have a pre-existing condition.