Wikipedia defines an allergen as a type of antigen that produces an abnormally vigorous immune response in which the immune system fights off a perceived threat that would otherwise be harmless to the body.
...Such reactions are called allergies.
There are thousands of people living everyday with what most consider “common” allergies. These include allergies to substances other than food.
Let’s take some time to review some of these more common allergens.
Most of these allergies stem from exposure to environmental irritants, including indoor and outdoor “pollutants” and even natural or organic products in nature.
Some of the more common allergens include: insects, pollen, plants, flowers, trees and chemicals.
Honeybees, bees and other insects often inject venom that, in most people, will result in only mild irritation.
Some people however, have a heightened allergic response that tends to worsen with time, and may include respiratory difficulty, hives and even anaphylactic reactions. Most bees that inject a person with an allergic irritant actually leave a venom filled “sac” in the skin.
You can often remove this sack by gently scratching the surface of your skin with a flat credit card or similar substance.
Be careful however, because you can accidentally break the stinger or stem holding the sac in place, causing the venom to stay put or worse, leak into the surrounding skin.
Pollen as an allergen typically results in an allergic response like hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Inflammation of the nose, throat and eyes are common.
These are tiny organisms that live in dust. They reside throughout your home, in your bed and pillows, in upholstery and even in your carpet.
The best way to remove dust mites to the best of your ability is to vacuum often, clean often and wash your sheets and bedding as 25 often as possible. Allergic symptoms are similar to those of exposure to pollens, and may include wheezing or coughing.
Many people with dust mite allergies experience ongoing problems, as it is difficult to entirely eliminate dust mites from one’s living environment.
Mold includes all parasitic fungi or spores that float through the air or live within warm, moist environments.
Mold may also include mildew that grows in the warm, moist corridors of your house, or even right alongside your home. Many households have mold in the basement, but mold may also grow out-of-doors, including in piles of old leaves, in mulch and in related areas.
Mold is often problematic during hot and humid summer months. Consider yourself lucky if you live in a climate where there is little moisture in the air; you are less likely to suffer from constant exposure to mold.
5. Cat or Animal Dander
Certain animal’s, including cats, secrete substances or proteins that irritate many humans’ nasal lining.
Symptoms of an animal dander allergy include watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion and even increased asthmatic symptoms.
Some people develop allergies to dander only after repeated exposure to a pet. Others may experience very severe reactions even to minimal exposure.
Often included in the pollen category, and inspires symptoms including itchy, watery eyes, runny noses, wheezing and coughing. For some, it may result in worsening asthma or other respiratory problems.
Many insects, not just honeybees or spiders, can cause allergic reactions in people. A cockroach does not have to bite a person to stimulate an allergic reaction.
Common symptoms of a cockroach allergy include rashes and asthma. Many researchers believe it is the cockroach’s saliva and feces that result in allergic symptoms. Think you don’t have a cockroach problem? Think again.
Some studies suggest that in urban areas up to 98 percent of homes will have cockroaches of some sort. Their favorite places to hide include in kitchens, in closets and in furniture or old luggage.
Usually, people already predisposed to asthma are most likely to react to cockroach exposure with allergy symptoms.
Most people experience flares or a worsening of their symptoms in the spring, when flowers and other trees begin blooming, releasing pollens in the air.
The good news is even if you are sensitive to any or all of these common allergens you can take steps to reduce your exposure and the severity of flare-ups.
Stay tuned for our next article on managing and treating common allergies. Bye.