Some environmental allergic reactions
include substances, including mold spores, pollen, dust mites, animal hair and dander, insects and chemicals. Tobacco smoke and pesticides are also known allergens. The bodyís reaction to foreign substances is to produce antibodies, which release histamines, naturally occurring
chemicals in our bodies. This immune response often results in inflammation, which causes itchy, watery eyes, respiratory problems, rashes, sneezing, insomnia and other unpleasant symptoms. Left untreated, allergies can cause asthma, high blood pressure, migraines, recurring ear infections and a host of other serious health issues due to an over-stimulated immune system.
Some people suffer from allergies all of their lives, while others find that their allergic reactions lessen with age. Conversely, allergies can appear in adults with no previous history of allergic reactions, and can be triggered by the environment, extreme tiredness, emotional stress or changes in hormone levels. Blood and skin tests can determine whether or not a person is suffering from an allergic reaction or has allergies to different substances. Fortunately, there are many options available to treat allergies, including new treatments, lifestyle changes and improved diets.
Severe allergies are often treated with injections, but some people prefer to use over-the-counter or prescription medications such as antihistamines, nasal sprays containing steroids, or decongestants. However, these medications treat the symptoms rather than removing the causes of allergies. Laser treatments, which target the tissue in nasal passages, are another option for allergy sufferers. Other, less well-known treatments, including biofeedback and acupuncture, have helped some people with allergies to no longer suffer from allergic reactions.
We are exposed to tens of thousands of potential allergens every day Ė from our clothing to our backyards. Packaging, household cleansers, cosmetics, shampoos and houseplants, to name a few, can all cause allergic reactions. We are all exposed to chemicals everyday in our air and water, including breathing in synthetic fibers and countless other toxic substances.
Mold spores are another common allergen, and long-term exposure to mold has serious consequences for those with compromised immune systems. If mold spores are inhaled, they can become attached to the respiratory tract. Shower stalls and curtains should be washed frequently with mold-inhibiting cleansers. Basements are notorious breeding grounds for mold. Extreme humidity is conducive to the growth of mold; therefore the humidity level in your home should not exceed 40 percent. Dehumidifiers are useful but be sure to clean them often. Even leaving wet, washed clothing in a washing machine can cause mold to grow, so be sure to dry clothes promptly.
Dust mites are a well-known allergen and are particularly difficult to completely eradicate from a home, but the amount can be reduced significantly, which should lessen a personís immune reaction and allergic symptoms. Bedding, especially pillows is a significant source of dust mites and their excrement, since they thrive in the heat generated by a personís breathing and perspiration. Washing bedding frequently, at the highest temperature possible, should kill most dust mites found in your bed.
Note: Some statements in this article may not be
approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and
should not be taken as professional medical advice.