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Allergy Basics

Allergy Basics

What causes allergies?

Allergies are the body’s reaction to outside substances, called allergens, that are otherwise harmless. But when a person with allergies is faced with certain allergens in the air such as pollen, dust, animal dander and mold, the body reacts by making chemicals that can cause allergy symptoms. Food, insect bites, medications, plants and latex can also cause allergic reactions. (2)

 

Who develops allergies?

People with a family history of allergies are more likely to develop allergies. If you have allergies, it’s likely your children will, too. Those who live or work in environments with many allergens are also more likely to develop allergies. (3)

 

What are year-round allergies?

Year-round allergies, or perennial allergic rhinitis, may be due to indoor allergens from pets, mold, dust mites and cockroach droppings.

 

What is hay fever?

Seasonal allergies, sometimes called “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis, occur mainly in the spring and fall and can be caused by allergens such as tree, grass and weed pollen.

 

When you are outside, pay attention to pollen and mold counts. Stay inside when counts are at their highest. Avoid mowing grass or doing other yard work on those days. If you must be outside, use a face mask to avoid inhaling allergens and shower after spending time outside. This can help wash away allergens that collect on your skin and hair.

For the daily pollen count in your area, go to the National Allergy Bureau’s website www.aaaai.org/nab.

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