Statistics show that some 20 percent of people develop allergies of some sort. Allergic reactions develop when the immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless antigen, resulting in a range of symptoms from sneezing to hives to life-threatening anaphylaxis. While potential allergens are innumerable, there are a few common culprits.
- Pollen: Multiple varieties of trees, grasses, weeds and flowers produce pollen that can trigger hay fever or seasonal allergies. Most result in irritating, but non-life-threatening reactions like sneezing, runny nose and watery or itchy eyes.
- Pet dander: The physical and emotional health benefits of owning a pet are countless. But life with Fido and Fluffy can be tough if you suffer allergies. That’s because of pet dander, a protein mix secreted in an animal’s skin and saliva that can trigger allergic reactions.
- Dust Mites: You can’t see them, but you sure can feel the effects of their presence if you’re prone to allergies. These microscopic buggers live in house dust and feed on pollen, fungi, bacteria and dead skin that naturally falls from humans and animals daily.
- Insect stings and bites: Stings and bites by honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps and fire ants can cause mild to severe allergic reactions including swelling of the face, mouth, tongue and throat, as well as difficulty breathing and low blood pressure, itching and hives.
- Molds: Multiple types of molds can grow in persistently damp or wet areas like bathrooms and basements that lack adequate ventilation.
Other common allergens include certain foods and medications, latex, fragrances and – believe it or not – cockroaches. Many allergic reactions can be avoided by keeping your home clean and dust-free, using a home air filtration system, changing your air conditioning filters regularly, clearing your home of dust collectors like stuffed animals and certain types of carpet and bathing your pet regularly. If you suffer from allergies or hay fever, contact St. Augustine Ear, Nose &Throat at 904-461-6060 and schedule a consultation with an allergy specialist.