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Allergy triggers

Different people have different allergy triggers, which can range from pollen, house dust mites, mould, pets, insect stings, latex, and certain foods and medication.


Allergy symptoms can range from eye irritation and congestion to a more severe anaphylactic reaction causing swelling and difficulty breathing.


Pollen


Exposure to pollen can trigger hayfever or seasonal allergies. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy, watery eyes. Treatments include over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines, decongestants, steroid nasal sprays, and medicines that combine antihistamines and decongestants. Allergy injections, called immunotherapy, are also an option for some people.


Prevent hayfever symptoms by staying indoors on dry, sunny and windy days or when pollen counts are high, closing windows, using air conditioning, (if you have it) and refraining from hanging clothes out to dry during the pollen season.


House dust mites


House dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in house dust. Symptoms of house dust mite allergy  are similar to pollen allergy but often occur year round rather than just seasonally. Treatment may include medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal sprays.


Help prevent house dust mite allergy symptoms by considering putting dust mite covers over mattresses, pillows, and box springs, using hypoallergenic pillows, washing sheets weekly in hot water, and keeping all areas of the house, especially the bedroom, free of dust collecting-items including cuddly toys, curtains, and carpet. The humidity should be kept between 30% and 45%.


Moulds


Moulds are parasitic, microscopic fungi with spores that float in the air like pollen. It is a common trigger for allergies and can be found in damp areas such as basements or bathrooms, as well as in grass, leaf piles , hay, mulch, or under mushrooms.


Symptoms of mould allergies can occur seasonally, especially in the summer and autumn or through out the year if mould is in your home. The symptoms are similar to those of pollen and house dust mite allergies and include sneezing, congestion, itchy, and watery eyes , runny nose, and coughing. Treatments are the same as those for house dust mites or pollen.


Help prevent mould allergies by avoiding activities that trigger symptoms, such as raking leaves. Make sure moist places in the home, such as the basement and bathrooms, are well ventilated. Look for areas of water damage and repair those spots. Keep indoor plants to a minimum since their soil harbours and promotes mould growth.


Pets and cockroaches


Proteins secreted by oil glands in an animal's skin, as well as the proteins present in an animal's saliva and urine, can cause allergic reactions in some people. Allergies to animals can take two or more years to develop and symptoms may not subside until months after ending contact with the animal. Symptoms include sneezing, congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. Treatments include avoiding exposure to animals that cause your allergies when possible. Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal steroids or others may be helpful. Immunotherapy may be recommended if your symptoms are chronic and do not respond to the other treatments described.


Cockroaches can cause similar symptoms. The treatments are the same.


Help prevent allergies to pets by removing the pet from the home, or at least the bedroom. Keep pets off upholstered furniture and wash the pet weekly. Cockroach allergy prevention includes keeping rubbish in closed containers and taking it out regularly.


Insect stings


Everyone who gets stung by an insect will have pain, swelling, and redness around the sting site. However, people who are allergic to stings can have a severe or even life-threatening reaction. Symptoms of insect sting allergy include extensive swelling and redness from the sting or bite that may last a week or more, nausea, fatigue, and low-grade fever. On rare occasions, insect stings may cause a full-body allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms and signs of anaphylaxis may include difficulty breathing, wheezing, urticaria, swelling of the face, throat or mouth, difficulty swallowing, restlessness and anxiety, rapid pulse, a sharp drop in blood pressure, and dizziness. For people who are severely allergic to insect stings, adrenaline should be administered soon after being stung to help prevent the development of a life-threatening situation.


Reduce your attractiveness to insects by not wearing brightly coloured clothes and scented cosmetics. Keep insecticide available, wear shoes when outside, and avoid outdoor rubbish. If you do get stung, remove the stinger if possible. If you are at risk of anaphylaxis, get an adrenaline injection immediately. An oral antihistamine may be taken to reduce itching, swelling, and urticaria, and a pain reliever may be taken and ice pack used to dull pain caused by the sting. Occasionally corticosteroid medicines are used to decrease swelling and inflammation.


Immunotherapy may be recommended for individuals with insect sting allergies in order to prevent anaphylaxis with future stings.


Insects that cause allergic reactions include various bees, hornets, and wasps.


Latex


Latex gloves are the most common offending product for people with a latex allergy, but a latex allergy can also be triggered by latex in condoms and certain medical devices. Symptoms of latex allergy include skin rash, tears in your eyes and irritation, runny nose, sneezing, cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and itching of the skin or nose. Allergic reactions to latex can range from skin redness and itching to a much more serious reaction called anaphylaxis, which can cause difficulty breathing, urticaria, and sudden gastrointestinal and blood pressure problems.


Treatments include removal of the latex product. To relieve symptoms, antihistamines may be recommended and adrenaline given if anaphylaxis occurs. If you have a latex allergy that causes anaphylaxis, it is important for you to wear a MedicAlert bracelet and carry an emergency adrenaline kit at all times. To prevent a latex reaction, sensitive individuals should avoid products containing latex.


Foods


Milk, fish and shellfish, nuts, wheat, and eggs are among the most common food allergens. An allergic reaction to food usually occurs within minutes of eating the offending food. Symptoms, which can include asthma, urticaria, vomiting, diarrhoea, and swelling around the mouth, can be severe. It is important to avoid the food allergen, but when exposed, treatment with antihistamines or steroids is recommended. In life-threatening situations, an adrenaline injection is needed to reverse symptoms.


Medication


Some people develop allergies to certain medications, such as penicillin or aspirin. Symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening and can include a skin rash or urticaria, itchy eyes, congestion, and swelling in the mouth and throat. The best treatment of medicine allergies is to avoid the offending medicine altogether but when exposed, treatment with antihistamines or steroids is recommended. For coughing and lung congestion, drugs called bronchodilators may be prescribed to widen the airways. For more serious symptoms adrenaline may be needed.


Source: WebMD

Allergies