Did you know allergies are one of the most common chronic diseases? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that approximately 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from nasal allergies. That’s about 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Allergies can’t be cured; however, allergies can be managed by identifying triggers (with allergy testing) and coming up with a treatment plan. Here are the five most common allergies in the US.
1. Pollen Allergy
When pollen spreads each spring, summer, and fall, it can cause an allergic reaction. Pollen is found in trees, weeds, and grass. Grass pollen is the most common cause of allergy and causes the most trouble from late spring to early summer. Weeds typically cause most of the pollen allergies in late summer and fall, with the ragweed species being the leading offender.
2. Mold Allergy
Molds are small and commonly associated with discolored areas of a wall or floor. They are found in warm, dark, moist areas. Molds can be found indoors and out, and this can cause allergy symptoms year-round. When mold spores get into your nose, you may get symptoms such as nasal congestion, wheezing, shortness of breath or worsening asthma. Regular cleaning and reducing indoor humidity are some ways you can decrease your exposure to mold spores.
3. Dust Mite Allergy
Dust mites, like molds, prefer warm, humid environments. These tiny creatures like to hide in carpets, furniture, bedding, clothes, toys, and travel around on your pet’s fur. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and coughing. Dust mites are nearly impossible to get rid of, but there are certain things you can do to reduce their effects. Washing your sheets weekly in hot water is one simple way to kill dust mites in your home.
4. Skin Allergy
Skin allergies have multiple causes. Most are contact allergies, such as allergy to latex. Poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac are also well-known skin allergens. Direct contact with cockroaches and dust mites can also trigger skin allergies. Make sure you can recognize the symptoms of a skin allergy which can include skin inflammation, eczema, and hives. You can apply calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream or take an over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce the inflammation from a skin allergy.
5. Food Allergy
Food allergies are more often found in children. Peanuts are the most common of all food allergies, followed by milk and shellfish. The top eight food offenders are milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Food allergies can be mild or severe, and getting tested is the best way to find out your level of sensitivity to certain foods. People with severe allergic reactions require epinephrine to treat the reaction.
Allergies can be an annoyance or cause life-threatening reactions. Even minor exposures can cause a severe reaction. If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, schedule an appointment for allergy testing. Trust the expert ENT doctors at Kaplan Sinus Relief to diagnose and help you manage your allergies today.