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What are the Causes of My Respiratory Allergies?

What are the Causes of My Respiratory Allergies?

Do you have problems with respiratory allergies? Living with this issue is frustrating, inconvenient, and limiting to your lifestyle and quality of life in general.

Respiratory allergies vary in intensity between individuals. Some might experience a runny nose and a sniffle, while others feel as if they are catching the flu, coughing, and sneezing, with post nasal drip and other symptoms of respiratory distress.

People suffering from the effects of respiratory allergies often feel like their bodies are always at war with themselves. The physical effects of allergies are anything from annoying to incapacitating. The result largely depends on the severity of the person's outcome when exposed to environmental allergens.

As a result of severe allergy responses, some children and adults end up missing out on outdoor physical activities. When air quality conditions outdoors are bad, people with respiratory allergies might find themselves missing out on activities with friends and family.

It's challenging to enjoy seasonal activities when you're dealing with an allergy attack. Taking a backseat to the fun isn't any way for people to live their lives.

Yet, despite many people having allergies and understanding the severity of the conditions, very few know the correct treatment and management protocols involved with allergies. Depending on the severity of your allergies, you could receive a varying level of response to the introduction of allergens to your body.

Understanding the causes and severity of your allergies is the first step to creating an action plan to treat your condition. When you know how your body responds to allergens and how to treat the reaction, you can start to experience a better quality of life.

This post gives you a few ideas on how to bring your allergies under control.

 

What are the Symptoms of Allergy Reponses?

  • A runny nose or stuffy sinus.

  • Sneezing and itchy, watering eyes.

  • Postnasal drip and scratchy throat.

  • Coughing.

What are the Causes of My Allergy Problems?

People who are dealing with the effects of severe allergies experience a dramatic decrease in their quality of life. Severe allergies may bother you all the time, and you may experience an allergic reaction from exposure to the smallest qualities of allergens.

Severe respiratory allergies don't always have to be life-threatening, but they can be a tremendous inconvenience in your life. However, one upside is that with severe allergies, you're more likely to know the cause of your allergic response.

As a result of understanding your allergy, you have more options for treatment and for the avoidance of situations that put you in contact with the allergen.

Hay Fever from Pollen

Hay fever is one of the most common respiratory allergies. The condition can occur at any time of the year, affecting the individual year-round. For instance, pollen is the primary cause of hay fever allergies. It's in high concentrations in the air all summer, right through to the end of the fall.

When the pollen subsides, people with hay fever also have to concern themselves with dust in the air. Typically, when the pollen season ends, things get dry, and there's more dust in the air.

During the pollen season, the particles hang in the air and collect on your clothes and in your home. Most varieties are so small in size that you can't see them with the naked eye.

However, when pollen levels start reaching critical levels in the air and inside the home, sensitive individuals start experiencing an increase in the frequency and intensity of allergy attacks.

The only way to limit the attacks is to minimize exposure to environmental allergens like pollen and dust. Stay inside on low air-quality days and avoid physical activity.

Pet Dander

We all love our furry friends, but they present us with a risk for respiratory allergies. Pets shed skin and fur from their coat, and it gets particularly bad for some breeds during specific periods of the year, known as molting season.

When dander, or dry skin particles (think dandruff in humans), releases from your pet, it hangs in the air and settles around the home. The lightweight particles settle on your bed and furniture, on surfaces, and clings to your clothes and skin.

As a result, people in the house end up tracking it all over the residence, spreading it around. People with severe pet allergies can't be around animals for more than a few hours without starting to notice the effects of an incoming allergic response.

If you have a mild pet allergy, you'll need to ensure you keep your home clean at all times and regularly groom your pets.

Dust Mites and Dust

Dust and dust mites are a problem for people with allergies. These microscopic critters are looking to feed on the dead skin cells you leave behind on the couch and the mattress. They also exist in fibers and materials all over the home, such as carpets, curtains, and rugs.

Dust mites can cause severe respiratory problems in people when they start to colonize a specific room or home. People may find themselves coughing more often than usual, and they may develop skin irritation.

Dust mites love humid, warm conditions, and people living in coastal regions have a harder time controlling dust mites than those living in cooler, dryer climates. Those individuals with allergies to dust mites may find that inhaling the mites and dust causes respiratory distress, along with itchy eyes and skin.

Ventilate rooms as much as possible and clean regularly to remove dust mites from mattresses and bedding. If you have a carpet, consider replacing it with tiles. Choose furniture coverings where dust mites are less likely to settle, such as leather.

Smoke

Seasonal wildfires seem to be getting worse across the Pacific Northwest. Each year, millions of acres burn, and the air in the sky across California turns an orange-red, filled with wildfire smoke. Wildfires can dramatically reduce air quality in affected areas. However, people with allergies to smoke can feel adverse effects from the allergy by merely sitting around a campfire.

All types of smoke, including from sources like barbeques and cigarettes, can cause the emergence of allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. If you have allergies to smoke, pay attention to wildfires in your area and watch the Air Quality Index (AQI) for reports on the air quality in your local area.

Ozone and Smog

Ozone and smog go hand-in-hand as pollutants that cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Ozone consists of a blend of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides. It reacts with sunlight, causing upper-respiratory issues in sensitive individuals.

Ozone has a light smell, and only trained professionals will recognize the presence of the volatile organic compound (VOC) in the air. Ozone has a beneficial value up in the stratosphere, where it protects us from the sun's harmful UV rays.

However, at ground level, it's a chemical irritant that people with allergies need to avoid. Some air purifications release ions that end up converting to ozone, so be careful when purchasing an air purifier for your home. Stick with models that don't have an ionizing function.

Smog is another concern for people with respiratory allergies.

Smog forms as a result of emissions from vehicles and industry, combining with ground-level ozone particles. The pollutants hang in the air, and without wind to remove them, they accumulate, forming smog. Los Angeles is a prime example of this geographical problem.

People with respiratory allergies should pay attention to the AQI index and ensure they take necessary precautions to protect themselves on low-quality air days. Some adults may require the use of a respirator on bad-quality air days to avoid triggering their allergies.

 

Mold

If a person has respiratory allergies, they will likely have sensitivity to mold infestations in the home. Mold comes to life in the spring and summer. The pathogen exists in piles of old leaves and the soil, and it comes out to spread when the weather gets warm and wet.

The mold releases spores into the air, and they travel great distances in the wind since the particulate matter is so light. The mold could enter your home and settle in a dark, damp area where it begins to spread.

People with respiratory allergies notice that they start to experience symptoms as the mold colonizes areas in the home. They may also notice a slight musty smell in the room that's close to the source of the mold.

Some species of mold, such as black mold, release mycotoxins that have a severely toxic effect on the respiratory system, blood, and brain. Unfortunately, if you can smell mold in your home, it's probably already spreading.

Your best option is to call a mold identification specialist like MI&T. They'll visit your premises with advanced technology designed to read the air quality in your home and detect the mold. MI&T will find the mold and recommend strategies for its removal. However, they won't recommend a specific mold removal company.

MI&T operates as an independent authority, with no contracts in place with mold removal companies. As a result, you get an unbiased report of the air quality in your home and a strategy to put in place for its removal.

 

Treatment for Allergies

 

Visit the Doctor

If you have allergies, you need medical advice and regular checkups on your health status. Your primary care physician can help you come up with an action plan on what to do if you experience an allergy attack.

 

Buy an Air Purifier

Air purifiers are handy devices to have around the home. An air purifier filters out the particulate matter and odors from the air that may cause allergic reactions. Look for models that destroy airborne pollutants rather than trapping them.

 

Close the Windows

When it's windy outdoors, keep the windows and doors in your home closed. If you have the resources, purchase an air conditioner or HVAC system for your home.

While these devices don't completely remove particles from the air, they significantly reduce the chances of an allergy attack in sensitive individuals.

 

Avoid Yard Work in the Summer

Doing yard work in the summer and fall is a bad idea if you have respiratory allergies. The lawn contains mold spores, and there are piles of leaves with the pathogen all over the yard.

Summertime has more pollen floating in the air in the yard, and exposure to all the mold and pollen might be too much for the immune system to handle, resulting in an allergy attack.

 

Avoid Going Outdoors on Windy Days

Mold spores and pollen love windy days. The lightweight nature of the particles makes them easy to carry in the wind. Particles can travel for miles in the wind and enter your home.

Mold loves wet weather, and it carries itself on raindrops. If you have respiratory problems, it's best to remain indoors on windy and rainy days.

 

Try a Dehumidifier

Dust mites thrive in humid environments. If you live close to a body of water like a river, lake, or ocean, you probably have humid weather most of the year, and that's the ideal environment for dust mites to thrive.

Purchase a dehumidifier and run it in rooms inside the home to bring down the relative humidity. Rooms should have an RH of 50% for the best prevention against the spread and colonization of dust mites.

Removing Old Carpets

Dust mites love hiding in old carpets. Therefore, it's important to vacuum carpets, rugs, and mats frequently.

However, you might not vacuum in areas like under the bed as often as you should. As a result, dust mite colonies can start breeding.

Toss out the old carpets and replace them with some tiles. By removing the dust mites living environment, you cut down on your exposure to the allergen.

Bathe Pets Often

Pet dander gets in on our skin and clothes, and we trek it around the house. If you have pets, make sure you bathe and groom them regularly to limit the spread of pet dander and hair in your home.

Wash Your Hands and Face

Washing your hands and face is good personal hygiene that's important in these times. Pollen and other allergens may stick to your hands and face. We don't realize it, but we touch our faces unconsciously hundreds of times a day.

As a result, we end up pushing contaminants into our eyes and nose when we inadvertently wipe our hands on our faces. Practicing personal hygiene and regularly washing your hands and face is the best strategy to avoid allergy flare-ups from surface contamination.

Test Your Home for Mold

As mentioned, mold can pop up anywhere in the home and start colonizing without you realizing it. Get a seasonal inspection of the air quality in your home, and avoid the problems that arrive from mold infestations in your living space.

In Closing

Respiratory allergies are challenging to live with, causing a significant reduction in quality of life. If you're dealing with respiratory allergies, you need to take steps to protect yourself from allergens in your local environment.

Life may be harder to manage, but dealing with allergy attacks all the time is no fun. Follow the tips in this post to help you mitigate the effects of environmental allergens on your health.

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