According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year. This includes seasonal and year-round allergies. From food to chemicals, there are products that can evoke an allergic reaction.
We’ve discussed five uncommon allergies in past blog posts. Now it’s time to discuss the five most common allergies that affect many Americans. Pollen, mold, food, dust mites, and household pets trigger the most allergic reactions. It’s important for allergy sufferers to have basic knowledge of these allergens to learn how to properly manage their allergies.
Pollen allergies include tree, grass, and weed pollen. Pollen is one of the main causes of allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. These symptoms usually affect the nose, throat, and airways. Some common symptoms are sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes. Most people who are allergic to pollen experience symptoms during certain seasons, known as pollinating season. Pollinating seasons differ by region. However, some individuals can experience allergic reactions throughout the entire year.
For those whose pollen allergies affect them year-round, we suggest immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment that aims to desensitize patients to certain allergens. An allergist will inject you with small, gradually increasing doses of the allergen over a period of time to eventually relieve you of symptoms. Immunotherapy is a long-term solution for pollen allergies.
Mold allergy is a common indoor allergen, but mold can also be found outdoors. This makes it hard to avoid. The most common symptom related to mold allergy is asthma. When some people breathe in mold spores, it causes wheezing and breathing difficulties. This allergy is especially important to control.
Reducing mold exposure is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction. Since mold grows rapidly in humid conditions, it’s important to keep your home dry and avoid going to areas where the humidity is high, allowing for mold to grow outdoors. For further treatment, visit our allergists for a personalized treatment plan.
As many as 15 million Americans suffer from a food allergy. There are many foods that can evoke an allergic reaction, but 8 foods account for 90% of the allergies. These foods include:
• Tree nuts
• Cow’s milk
These foods can cause serious allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis. Reactions typically occur mainly from ingestion, but also through direct contact. If you suffer from a food allergy, reading food labels must be a priority when shopping. This will help you avoid an allergic reaction.
Since there is not currently an FDA approved treatment for food allergies, many people with a food allergy need to carry epinephrine. It is the only treatment for anaphylaxis. Ask your allergist if you need to be carrying an epinephrine auto-injector.
Dust Mite Allergy
Dust mites are tiny organisms that live in your mattress and bedding. They are mostly harmless, but for those that suffer from a dust mite allergy, it can get uncomfortable living with them. Dust mites can cause itching, sneezing, nasal congestion and breathing problems. If you experience wheezing at night, it may be because of dust mites.
The good news is, it’s easy to control dust mites in your home. There are allergy-friendly mattress covers that are designed to keep dust mites out. You should also wash your bedding frequently in hot water to kill dust mites. For more tips on how to manage your dust mite allergy, contact the allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers.
Dogs and cats cause most pet allergies, but cats are twice as likely to cause an allergic reaction than dogs. Pet dander and saliva are the main culprits for this allergy. They can trigger itching, sneezing, and breathing problems. Pets that go outdoors can also cause pollen allergies if they track pollen indoors. Pet allergies can be hard to manage because they are airborne. When you walk into a room, you can’t be sure whether or not a pet was there until symptoms occur.
It is recommended to avoid pets if you are allergic to them, but this may not be an option for some people. In this case, immunotherapy may be able to help reduce your symptoms. Contact our allergists to determine if you’re a candidate.
Meet the Physician Collaborator
Dr. Sima Patel is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. She is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine as well as the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Patel is one of our highly qualified NYC allergists. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel by calling (212) 686-4448 or by visiting one of our six locations throughout Manhattan and Queens.