Sudden allergies in house: Spotting Hidden Allergy Triggers, Like Dust Mites, Mold, and Pollen
Spotting Hidden Allergy Triggers, Like Dust Mites, Mold, and Pollen
“While there might be pollution outside, at least you have infinite ventilation,” says Jay M. Portnoy, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI.) “But inside, irritants can become very concentrated.” So when you’re looking for hidden allergy triggers, start inside. After all, that’s where we spend 90% of our lives.
What should you do? Much as we might all like to have a doctor-approved excuse for giving up on housework, that’s not an option. People with allergies need to vacuum regularly, since a buildup of dust — full of allergens like pollens, dust mites, and insect remains — is the last thing you need.
So instead, shell out for a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, which will be fine enough to catch most allergy-irritating particles. Another option is a central vacuum — if your house has one installed — since at least then the allergens aren’t being dispersed in your living space, says Portnoy. Then, vacuum regularly — especially if you have pets, or if you’ve had the windows open during pollen season.
The key is not to let the odors become too concentrated. “When you’re cleaning in an enclosed space, you must always have good ventilation,” says Pramod S. Kelkar, MD, chair of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology’s Cough Taskforce. “Always open the window or run an exhaust fan.”
“Outdoor pets go outside and roll around in the grass, which could be covered in pollen or mold,” says Portnoy. Then they come in and sit on the couch, and on your bed, and on you. The only solution is to either keep your pets indoors or bathe them regularly.
“Even though they don’t bring the cat itself, that indirect exposure can still cause significant allergic symptoms,” Kelkar tells WebMD.
Windom agrees. “There have been some amazing studies that found huge amounts of cat dander in places that cats have never been, like airplanes and schools,” says Windom. “It just falls off everywhere.”
Treat your guests’ belongings as warily as you would their cat. Ask guests to put their things in a closed room and then make sure you don’t go in. Or you could even ask guests to leave their coats and bags in the garage. You might feel like a crummy host making demands, but you won’t be much fun if you spend the whole visit sneezing anyway. Just explain the problem and any reasonable person should understand. If none of this works, try to meet your friends outside your home.
But air that’s too dry — under 20% humidity — isn’t any good either. When the air is dry, the body’s natural response is to moisturize it. In the process, Portnoy says, your nasal passages generate excess mucus and make you stuffed up.
“People often blame dust in their heating vents for allergy symptoms in the fall and winter,” Portnoy tells WebMD. “But I think it’s more likely just the body’s response to dry air.”
Here’s a tip: get a hygrometer, a simple device that reads the humidity in your home. That way, you can either humidify or dehumidify, depending on the moisture levels.
“All electrical appliances, including air filters, generate ozone,” says Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, an allergist and professor of clinical medicine at the University of Cincinnati. Ozone is a gas that’s a well-known irritant for people with allergies — that’s why people with asthma should stay inside on days with high ozone levels. But what’s even worse is that many air cleaners deliberately churn out ozone as a means of freshening the air.
“These devices are a big problem,” says Bernstein. “Ozone can really be dangerous for people with asthma.”
Most of these irritants will fade over time, but it can take weeks or months. “If you can still smell it, it’s definitely still a potential irritant,” says Portnoy.
If possible, start with prevention. Choose products that are less likely to cause symptoms. Go for real wood over particleboard, or at least seal the particleboard with a low-VOC sealant. Ask for carpets that are free of formaldehyde. Use low-VOC paints. If VOC-producing products are already in the house, try to limit your exposure. Ventilate the home as well as you can, so that the irritant doesn’t become too concentrated.
Portnoy says that the ragweed allergy season has been extended by almost a month over the last 10 or 15years. While it used to run from Aug. 15 to Oct. 1, Portnoy says that it’s now dragging on from Aug. 1 through the middle of October. And that’s not all. “There’s also been an overall increase in ragweed pollen counts and the potency of the pollen,” he says.
Aside from doing your bit to slow climate change, there’s not much you can do about this on your own. Just be aware that the pollen season might be coming sooner than you expect — and be ready for it.
How to Detect an Allergen and Remove It From Your Home
An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Some examples of common allergens are dust mites, cat dander, and pollen. Sometimes people can have severe allergic reactions to these substances that can lead to breathing problems (including serious asthma exacerbations) and even death. More often, they cause bothersome symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, and fatigue.
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images
Detecting The Allergen That’s Making You Sick
There are two ways to detect an allergen that is making you sick: through skin-prick testing, considered by many experts to be the gold standard, and through immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood testing. Unfortunately, according to Dr. Robert Reinhardt, MD, associate professor at Michigan State University and senior director of medical and regulatory affairs and quality management at Phadia, U.S., Inc., both of these types of tests are underused by physicians who are more likely to simply prescribe medications to treat allergy symptoms.
Skin-prick testing involves first abrading the skin with a needle and then placing a series of drops of allergen extracts such as pollen, dander, molds, etc., onto the place where the skin was pricked. Then, you’ll wait 15 minutes to see if a reaction develops in comparison to a positive control (histamine) and a negative control (saline).
Specific IgE testing, (also called ImmunoCAP), can help your doctor diagnose the allergens that are causing your symptoms. IgE is an immunoglobulin, a protein that acts as part of our immune system, detecting foreign substances such as bacteria and allergens. IgE tends to overreact in response to an allergen; this results in an allergy.
“Eighty percent of asthma and allergy care is given by primary care physicians and pediatricians. These doctors are overwhelmed by clinical guidelines. Asthma guidelines alone are over 400 pages. Education around guidelines is often provided to doctors by pharmaceutical companies so they become well versed in administering medications but not in other aspects of the guidelines,” Dr. Reinhardt says. If you suspect you have allergies or asthma, you should consider being treated by an allergist or pulmonologist as the two disorders can be closely related, known as the asthma and allergy connection.
So what does all this mean to you, the patient? It means you may have to request these blood tests from your physician. Dr. Reinhardt recommends that patients become familiar with the results of their lab results. “Patients should know their IgE levels the same way that diabetics know their blood sugar or some people know their cholesterol,” he says. Once you’ve discovered what you are allergic to, you can start to eliminate it.
Removing the Allergen From Your Environment
Your physician should be able to assist you with methods for eliminating or reducing the amount of exposure to the allergen that triggers your symptoms. There are many options. You can also buy several types of commercially available products to test your home for common allergens and molds. By taking samples of the dust around your home, you can receive a detailed report telling what allergens are in your home. The kit in conjunction with blood testing can tell you what allergens need to be removed from your home.
Keep the Bedroom an Allergy Safe Zone
According to Dr. Reinhardt, the most important place to get rid of allergens is in the bedroom. Most people spend six to 12 hours in the bedroom sleeping, so it is important to make this a “safe zone.” But removing allergens is sometimes easier said than done.
Let’s say you have a pet dander allergy. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, this might mean that you just need to keep your pet out of the bedroom, or you may need to regularly deep-clean the room thoroughly to get rid of residual pet dander, including all of your bedding. Steam cleaning and dry cleaning may be necessary. If these measures fail, and your allergies don’t improve, it may be necessary to find a new home for your pet if you’re really suffering—let your doctor be your guide.
Removing other allergens may be easier (at least emotionally, anyway): dust mites, for example, can be controlled by diligent cleaning, again, especially in the bedroom. This includes curtains, blinds, and all bedding. Some sources recommend encasing your bedding in a plastic or rubber wrapping. It is also important to dehumidify your home, since dust mites thrive in humid environments.
Mold can be difficult to remove. Mold grows in moist areas, it may have grown in an area where you have had water damage from plumbing problems or flooding. Sometimes it just grows because the air is so humid, again a dehumidifier may be helpful. The first step in removing mold is to make sure that everything is dried out. For mold growth larger than 10 square feet, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says homeowners should follow the guidelines for removing mold in their article on mold remediation in schools and commercial buildings.
A Word From Verywell
We have covered only some of the more common allergy/asthma triggers. Once you find out what your trigger is, you will need to talk with your doctor and research ways to decrease exposure to the trigger and thereby improve your health.
Problems in the bedroom? It May Be Allergies—Jax Allergy
Coughing, sneezing, sniffling—if you’re an allergy sufferer, you know the drill. What’s worse is dealing with itchy, red eyes and sneezing in the bedroom, the one room in your home that should be a haven.
Did you know bedrooms can cause some of the worst exposure for allergy sufferers? It may surprise you where pesky allergens are hiding. Don’t let allergy symptoms ruin a good night’s rest. Learn more about common bedroom allergies and what you can do to avoid them.
Why the Bedroom?
The bedroom is home to a slew of allergens including dust mites, pet dander, chemicals, dust, and molds. Here you may spend 6-8 hours a day sleeping, getting ready for the day, or simply relaxing—which means you have a longer exposure to microscopic critters and particles that cause allergies and allergy-like symptoms.
Common Allergens in the Bedroom
If you suffer from allergies in the bedroom, it may be one of these three common allergens:
Bedrooms are the perfect breeding ground for dust mites. Learn more about them and how to avoid them.
What are they?
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that flourish in warm, damp conditions and often take up residence in mattresses, pillows, carpets, furniture, and fabrics. Dust mites feed on the skin cells you shed, obtain warmth from your body, and extract water from your sweat or exhaled breath. These tiny critters are completely harmless, but their microscopic droppings are known for triggering allergic reactions in allergy sufferers.
What are the symptoms?
Dust mite allergies can be mild or severe in some cases. The following are a few of the major symptoms:
- Itchy or runny nose
- Sinus pressure
- Scratchy throat
- Watery or red eyes
- Itchy skin
How can I avoid them?
We recommend that you wash your bed linens and dust your bedroom weekly. Minimize objects in your bedroom that collect dust such as stuffed animals or knick-knacks and protect your mattress, box spring, and pillows with special woven dust mite covers. These covers should have pores less than four microns in diameter. In extreme allergy cases, remove upholstered furniture or carpeting and replace with leather or vinyl furniture or wood, vinyl, linoleum, or tile flooring. Wash bedroom curtains on a regular basis or trade them for shades or blinds that you can wipe clean.
If you have cats or dogs in the house, their dander could be affecting your allergies in the bedroom. Here’s how:
What is it?
Animal or pet dander are skin particles containing proteins that become airborne and may produce allergic reactions. It’s not animal hair that causes an allergy as many suspect, it’s the dander produced by their skin. Due to the small size (often smaller than pollen or dust mite particles) dander can remain in the air for long periods of time.
What are the symptoms?
Animal dander can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms including:
- Itchy skin
- Red, itchy eyes
- Wheezing, coughing, or sneezing
- Asthma symptoms
- Trouble breathing
- Tightness in your chest
How can I avoid it?
In extreme pet allergy situations, you may need to remove the animal from your home. To reduce your exposure to allergens in the bedroom, keep pets outdoors or away from bedrooms. Don’t allow pets to be in carpeted areas or on upholstered furniture. Vacuum the floors and furniture weekly with a HEPA filter vacuum and wash your bedroom linens each week. Wash your hands after touching your pet and give your pet a bath once a week to reduce dirt and dander.
Mold is a silent offender that creeps in and leaves a mess in its wake. Here’s what you need to know to battle mold in the bedroom:
What is it?
Mold is a form of fungus that grows on objects such as carpet, paper, drywall, insulation, wood, and food. Molds flourish in dark, warm environments with moisture accumulation due to humidity, condensation, or water leaks. Pores can develop in as few as 24-48 hours in wet, warm conditions. Large colonies of mold that are visible to the eye are made from a network of connected multicellular filaments called hyphae. As it feeds on the organism it attaches to, the nutrients cause the mold to flourish and grow.
What are the symptoms?
The following are some common mold allergy symptoms:
- Itchy, irritated eyes
- Runny nose
- Wheezing, coughing, or sneezing
- Scratchy throat
How can I avoid it?
The first thing you need to do is control the moisture levels in your home by fixing any plumbing, roof, or AC leaks right away. Keep your bedroom well ventilated and avoid using rugs or carpet in this space if possible—if that isn’t possible it’s imperative that you vacuum regularly and use HEPA air filters to decrease indoor mold spores (multiple times per week is best). Shut doors and windows during the rainy season and use your air conditioning to reduce indoor moisture. A dehumidifier is a great tool to decrease the relative humidity in your home to below 40%. Minimize other sources of molds in your bedroom by removing houseplants, damp clothing, aquariums, books, or damp rugs.
Are allergies getting the best of you? Contact the Board Certified Allergists at the Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida to help diagnose or manage your allergy symptoms. Make an appointment to learn more today.
title image: Copyright: poligonchik / 123RF Stock Photo
dust mites: Copyright: Eraxion / 123RF Stock Photo
pet dander: Copyright: websubstance / 123RF Stock Photo
mold: Copyright: fotostudiod3x / 123RF Stock Photo
Is It Possible to Suddenly Develop Allergies?
For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, you know that this time of year can be a challenge. Flowers, trees, and grasses are in bloom and growing which means pollen and other allergens are in the air. In the U.S., an estimated 18 million adults have hay fever or allergic rhinitis, caused by pollens, weeds, grasses, and molds. Other people may have environmental allergies to things like animals and dust mites. Did you know your allergies change and this year may be the first you experience symptoms?
Is It Allergies?
It can be challenging determining if the symptoms you’re experiencing are allergies or something else. Typical symptoms associated with allergies include:
- cough from postnasal drip
- itchy and watery eyes
- nasal congestion
- stuffy or runny nose
- scratchy or sore throat
- throat clearing
These symptoms are also often associated with the common cold and flu and may have you overly concerned this year because of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), especially if you have never had allergies before. While some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, there are several differences. The nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion aren’t prevalent symptoms of COVID-19, and allergies do not usually cause a fever, as is found with coronavirus or the flu.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor who can help you determine the next steps for treatment.
What Causes You to Develop Allergies?
Allergies can develop at any point in a person’s life. Usually, allergies first appear early in life and become a lifelong issue. However, allergies can start unexpectedly as an adult. A family history of allergies puts you at a higher risk of developing allergies some time in your life.
Allergies develop when your body thinks a substance such as animal hair, pollen, or mold is harmful. That substance awakens your immune system to release a chemical called histamine, which leads to your allergy symptoms. As you age, your immune system may start to weaken, so your response to an allergen also weakens. Repeated exposure can also cause your immune system to overreact. If you develop allergies as an adult, you may have had slight symptoms throughout your life, but an event such as a move or a new pet triggered your immune system to respond.
Are these Symptoms Allergies?
If you believe you have developed allergies, the first thing you can try is over-the-counter antihistamines to help control your symptoms. It is also a good idea to avoid the things you believe you are allergic to until you can be seen by an allergist.
An allergist can perform allergy testing to determine if you have allergies and exactly what is triggering your allergy symptoms. If testing confirms you have allergies, you can work with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan.
How Are Allergies Treated?
The first step is to avoid the things you are allergic to and try over-the-counter antihistamines. If that doesn’t work, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following options:
- Prescription antihistamines — Most antihistamines are now over the counter, but some are still only available by prescription.
- Nasal sprays — Medications that reduce the swelling in your nose, which cause a stuffy, runny, and itchy nose.
- Inhalers — Medications inhaled into the lungs that open your airways. Inhalers can include daily use or rescue inhalers used for immediate symptom relief.
- Allergy injections or immunotherapy — A series of injections to desensitize your immune system to the allergens which trigger your symptoms. The goal of the treatment is to retrain the immune system to recognize the allergen as not dangerous, decreasing the frequency or severity of allergy symptoms.
Allergies can be unpleasant no matter how old you are, but your doctor can help you determine what is triggering your allergies and develop a treatment plan that works for you.
Learn more about Allergy and Immunology services.
Why Are My Allergies Worse at Night?
Posted on: December 13, 2019
It’s the same thing almost every single night. You brush your teeth, finish your nightly routine, climb into bed, and immediately feel congested and sneezy.
If you suffer from allergies, your symptoms most likely get worse at night. This is something you share with other allergy patients. In fact, research shows that 74% of allergy sufferers wake up during the night because of allergy symptoms and over 90% of sufferers have difficulty sleeping.
What Triggers Allergy Night-Time Symptoms?
There are multiple potential triggers for night-time allergy symptoms. Indoor allergens including dust mites, pet dander, and pollen are a few examples. Dust mites could live in your bedroom. Pet dander, which is skin (as well as urine and saliva) and not fur, can stick to your clothing or bedding and cause allergy symptoms that way.
The same goes for pollen. It can exist indoors, and if you spend time outside and don’t immediately wash your hands and change your clothes and shoes, you could bring even more pollen inside your bedroom.
Types of Allergies that Could Become Worse During the Night
No matter what type of allergy you have, it can ruin your sleep. Rashes, food allergies, or an upset stomach triggered by allergies can cause sleep problems, but the most common pair of sleep-destroyers are nasal allergies and asthma, many of which stem from several common allergies including:
Both asthma and allergy sufferers could have a dust mite allergy. Dust mites prefer carpeting, some furniture, and bedding to live in. That means they like warmer indoor environments like your bedroom, which is one reason your symptoms may get worse at night – there are more dust mites in your room. Nearly microscopic dust mites may live on your pillow, box spring, and mattress.
Dust mites may cause symptoms like itchiness, a feeling of being unable to breathe, chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, eye itchiness and redness, nose stuffiness, and sneezing.
Those who are allergic to pet dander can have instant reactions or longer-term symptoms. An animal doesn’t even have to be present for a pet dander allergic reaction to take place. Dander can travel and land on lots of household and bedroom surfaces. This means that, even if you don’t own a pet yourself, you can bring the dander home with you and then have to deal with allergy symptoms for days, maybe even longer.
As one of the most common allergy triggers, pollen affects millions of people in the United States. Although it’s an outdoor powder, pollen can travel anywhere. Animals can transport it, as can insects, birds, and the wind.
When you go outside, pollen particles settle on your skin, your hair, your clothes, and your shoes. If you don’t wash your clothes and take a shower, then you can end up having pollen in your bed. Sleeping with an open window can also allow pollen to get in as the sun rises and pollen counts do, too.
While you hope to never have to deal with indoor mildew and mold, it does happen. If you’re allergic to mold, then it could trigger your allergies and keep you up at night. That’s especially true if your bedroom is close to a bathroom.
While we’ll share some tips for avoiding allergies later in this article, you should clean indoor mold as soon as you spot it. To properly clean mold, mix bleach and water until you have a cleaning material made up of about five percent bleach. You can also use detergent in lieu of bleach.
Cockroaches can get in through your window and make you feel symptomatic. According to information from the ACAAI, up to 98 percent of US urban homes could have cockroach allergens, with 63 percent of all other homes potentially containing the insect allergen.
If you have a cockroach allergy, you may be more susceptible to sinus infections and ear infections. You might also experience wheezing, skin rashes, nasal congestion, and coughing as your symptoms.
Allergies and Sleep Apnea
When you have to wrestle with your allergies each night at bedtime, you may fitfully toss and turn and then wake up exhausted. It feels like you slept for maybe an hour or two. As you drag on with your day, bleary-eyed and dead tired, it’s easy to assume you’re so exhausted because your stuffy nose, eye itchiness, and coughing kept you awake.
While that could be true, you could also be dealing with sleep apnea without even knowing it. Obstructive sleep apnea is a form of sleep apnea associated with allergies. The nasal symptoms of your allergies make you snore when you might regularly don’t. The sound of your snoring, while very distracting to a partner, can even bother you, causing you to wake up again and again throughout the night.
The upper airway is obstructed with this sleep apnea, either somewhat or all the way. Since your airway cannot open, the lungs don’t get as much air unless your chest muscles and diaphragm strain.
You can have obstructive sleep apnea and not even know it because you’re barely aware of what’s causing you to keep waking all night. Here are the other symptoms:
- Constant exhaustion that makes it hard to get out of bed
- A choking or gasping feeling that wakes you up, even several times a night
- Feelings of restlessness
- Night sweating
- Mood changes, depression, feeling forgetful, and difficulty with concentrating on tasks
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat and/or dry mouth in the morning
By seeing your provider, you can begin getting your case of obstructive sleep apnea under control.
How to Sleep Well with Allergies
If you’re not dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, there are some common tips you can follow to deal with your allergies and get a better night’s rest.
Take Precautions Against Higher Pollen Levels at Night
Surprisingly, pollen levels continue to rise throughout the night and peak around dawn. Keeping windows closed and running air conditioning with a premium air filter can help reduce nighttime allergy symptoms.
Consider that Your Pillow and Mattress May Be the Blame
Pillows and mattresses are great for you getting a good night’s sleep, but they also excel at harboring allergy triggers such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. Replacing pillows or covering them with an anti-allergy pillow case helps. In addition, there are anti-allergen mattress covers for sale that are effective in helping to relieve nighttime allergy symptoms.
Have Pets Sleep Elsewhere
In addition to dander, pets also carry dust mites, pollen and other allergens trapped in their coats. Allowing them to sleep on your bed allows for these allergens to transfer onto bedding and night clothes making allergy symptoms worse.
Keep Your Sleeping Environment Allergen Free
You need your sleep, so, the room you sleep in needs to be cleaned often to remove pollen, dust mites, and other allergens. Vacuuming under the bed helps in this effort by removing allergens living underneath it. A home-remedy that helps keep your bedroom allergen free is to wipe down hard flooring, molding and the walls near your bed with white vinegar. Mold is an allergen that enjoys living on dark walls and floors. Dehumidifiers can help keep relative humidity at the recommended levels of 30-50% and air conditioning to maintain temperatures at 70 degrees F or below will retard dust mite and mold growth. Hardwood flooring is best.
Wash Before Sleeping
Throughout the day your body and hair are exposed to and collect allergens such as pollen and dust. Accordingly, if you shower or bathe in the morning, try switching your time to wash your hair and body before bed time so that you don’t bring allergens into bed with you.
Other Tips for Lessening Nighttime Allergies and Getting Better Sleep
Here are some of our top tips for getting your night allergies under control and your sleep back on track:
- If you think it’s indoor mold that’s worsening your nighttime allergies, make sure you have adequate ventilation in every room of the house. This goes double for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, where humidity levels can change more often.
- For indoor mold allergies, you also want to use dehumidifiers in the above rooms, as these keep too much moisture from forming.
- Make sure your home doesn’t have any pipes or roof seals with leaks. If you spot these, get them repaired.
- For those with cockroach allergies, call an exterminator. They can tell you if there are any upstairs gaps where cockroaches can get into your bedroom. For instance, they may squeeze in through a window, a crack in the wall, or a small crevice.
- After you’re done spending time with your pet, change clothes and wash the ones you wore while spending time with your animal. Don’t bring clothes into your bedroom unless they’re clean.
- If you have a dust mite allergy, wash your sheets and other bedding at a high temperature, at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot water will help remove any lingering mites.
- Make sure you change and clean your bedding every week to keep dust mites away.
- Get plastic or fabric covers for your pillows, box spring, and mattresses so dust mites can’t get into your bed.
When to See a Specialist
Did you know that you are not able to sneeze when you are asleep? This means that one of the most important ways of ridding your body from allergens, sneezing, is unavailable while you sleep. This can lead to a worsening of symptoms that will wake you up.
Keeping your sleeping environment, your body, and your sleep clothes clear from allergens certainly cannot hurt you and often is enough to give you a comfortable night’s sleep. But, for some, it isn’t enough and the only available option is allergy medication.
If your allergies are making it difficult to sleep at night, contact Carolina Asthma and Allergy Center today. Since 1952, Carolina Asthma and Allergy Center has served the Charlotte metropolitan area. Today, the center has 12 offices in and around Charlotte. All the 14 allergists at the center are board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. To make an appointment at an office near you call 704-372-7900.
Why Are Allergies Worse in the Morning?
Posted on: June 25, 2019
You seem to go through the same routine day after day this time of year. You wake up with congestion, a runny nose, watery eyes and a cough that won’t quit. Annoyed,…
Tips to Allergy Proof Your Home
Posted on: August 24, 2020
Did you know there are steps you can take to reduce allergens in your own home? Live more comfortably by taking the steps below to reduce mold, dust, pollen, or other allergies…
3 Ways to Cure Dust Mite Allergies
Posted on: August 19, 2016
Dust mites — and their waste — are one of the leading causes of allergies and asthma throughout the year. Some common symptoms of dust mite allergies are:
- Runny nose
- Trouble breathing
About 20 million Americans suffer allergic reactions to these tiny bugs, which can make you feel like you have a never-ending cold.
Your house may look immaculate, but a tiny, trouble-causing invader may lurk where you can’t see. The mites consume stray human skin cells, and they absorb moisture from the air. They love temperatures between about 65 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and they thrive in environments with humidity higher than 50 percent.
How do these uninvited guests survive in an otherwise clean house? In most homes, dust becomes trapped deep in the fibers of our home textiles, including carpets, bed linens, curtains and upholstered furniture. Mites are most often found in bedrooms, which make ideal habitats thanks to all the cushy places to hide.
What Causes Allergies to Dust Mites?
Dust mite allergies really are caused by a byproduct of the mites: their feces and decaying bodies. These proteins in mite debris are the primary culprit when it comes to causing allergic reactions.
When your immune system reacts to foreign substances — like dust mite debris — it produces antibodies to protect you. You also experience an inflammatory response that can affect your lungs and nasal passages. With ongoing exposure to a triggering allergen, you can develop the chronic inflammation that’s related to asthma.
Our patients frequently ask, “What can I do about my dust mite allergy?” Here are three strategies you can use to evict the allergy-inducing intruders from your home and reduce your allergy symptoms.
1. Cover and Clean
Consider having your home — and especially your bedroom — cleaned by someone who does not suffer from allergies. If you must clean on your own, be sure to wear a mask that can filter dust. To clear out as many mites and their debris as possible:
- Use special microfiltration bags for your vacuum cleaner.
- Use a damp cloth to dust furniture and a damp mop to clean bare flooring.
- Wash rugs in hot water if possible, since cold water allows up to 10 percent of mites to remain. Dry cleaning also will kill mites and remove dust from textiles.
- Cover box springs, mattresses and pillows with plastic, airtight covers or dustmite encasements.
- Use pillows with polyester fiber filling rather than feathers.
- Wash bedding in the hottest water possible on a weekly basis.
2. Reduce Humidity and Dust in the Air
To keep the moisture in the air low, use your air conditioning or a dehumidifier. Humidity levels below about 50 percent are necessary for keeping mites to a minimum; consider using a hygrometer to measure.
A HEPA filter with a high MERV rating — around 11 or 12 — will help trap a significant amount of dust and keep it out of the air. And be sure to change your filters every three months for maximum effectiveness.
3. Eliminate Hiding Spots
Try to rid your home of materials that are conducive to mites. For example, limit the number of stuffed toys and upholstered pieces of furniture in the environment. Choose washable fabrics when possible, and opt for flooring materials other than carpets. Instead of draperies, choose window shades, which are easier to clean.
For personalized assistance with controlling a dust mite allergy, please contact Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center.
How Do I Know If I Have a Dust Mite Allergy?
Posted on: April 11, 2018
Springtime has officially arrived, which means it’s prime allergy season. You may rely on over-the-counter or even prescription medication to get you through, but this year has been different. You’re still taking…
Asthma Attacks: Trigger and Treatment
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13 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home
Sneeze much lately? Is your throat scratchy? Eyes watering, too? You’re not alone: Allergies affect more than 20 percent of Americans. Medications can help relieve allergy symptoms, but removing irritants from your home is a much more effective way to stop your stuffy nose, headache, itchy eyes, and shortness of breath, according to the Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA). Read on for the most effective ways to clear the air.
Find Out What You’re Allergic to First
Visiting an allergist will help you focus your preventative measures. The most common offenders are dust mites, mold, pollens, and pet dander. “There’s no point in making changes at home if you don’t address your particular allergies,” says Laurie Ross, editor of Allergy and Asthma Today. “Who knows, you might be allergic to cats, and here you are keeping your windows closed.”
Then Start With the Bedroom
Once you’ve established what causes your allergies, work your way around the house eliminating those specific allergens, starting with your bedroom. “If dust is one of your problems, cover your mattress and pillows with zip-on dust mite covers. You spend so much of your day in bed—if you can just get a good night’s sleep, you’ll be off to a great start,” says Ross.
Get Rid of Wall-to-Wall Carpet and Padding
If at all possible, replace them with hardwood or other impervious flooring, especially in the bedroom. “Just about every allergen accumulates in carpet—dust, pollen, pet dander. Walking across carpet re-releases all of that into the air,” says Ross.
Avoid Tracking in Trouble
Lay down two doormats at each entryway—one outside, one inside—to keep outdoor irritants from finding their way inside. Or, have your family and guests remove their shoes when they enter, so they don’t spread allergens around.
Upgrade Your Vacuum Cleaner
If it doesn’t have a HEPA filter, switch to one that does. They’re specially made to trap particles as tiny as 0.3 microns—which means they’ll be able to capture most allergens.
Change Those Air Filters
Don’t forget to clean or replace the filters in your heating and cooling system. Just follow the manufacturers’ instructions on timing and frequency.
Ditch the Drapes
Blinds or shades trap fewer allergens than fabric window treatments, but if you insist on curtains, opt for the machine-washable kind, which are easier to keep dust-free. Remove dust by vacuuming once a week with a brush attachment, and wash them frequently during months when you keep the windows open.
There are more than 100,000 species of mold on the planet, and one of their favorite places to live is your bathroom. Clean it regularly, making sure to dry off surfaces that collect standing water, and make sure it’s well ventilated. Also replace broken tiles and recaulk sinks and tubs every few years to discourage mold growth behind walls.
Tackle Overlooked Corners
“Most people forget to look under the kitchen sink,” says Ross. It’s a prime spot for mold growth when pipes drip. Pull everything out of the cabinet and inspect the interior carefully for signs of leaks. Also look for mouse droppings and cockroach webs, since rodents and bugs can trigger allergies, too. Get leaks fixed, seal holes, clean the area, and keep it tidy and dry to eliminate irritant build-up.
Take it Outside
Do your kitchen and bathroom fans just re-circulate indoor air or vent into the attic? If you can, replace them with true exhaust fans, which direct particles and humidity out of the house entirely. “If you’re venting damp spaces to your attic, mold can start growing there and eventually spread to the rest of your house,” says Ross.
Invest in a Hygrometer
High humidity can lead to mold growth and other problems; this simple device will give you an idea of your home’s moisture levels. Pick up one at your hardware store and take a measurement in each room. If you get readings of above 60 percent in any room or area, consider getting a dehumidifier.
Look Into Home Testing Kits
Still suffering from allergy symptoms? Get an air-testing kit, which can measure levels of mold, dust mites, cockroaches, and pet dander in dust samples taken from your home to help you determine the culprit.
Consider a Room Air Filter
Just be aware that they have limitations. “They’ll capture airborne allergens but can’t trap anything that’s settled in rugs or furniture, which is where most allergens end up,” says Ross. Still, they can be effective, particularly if you’re bothered by pollen. Make sure the one you buy doesn’t produce ozone, a gas that’s extremely irritating to people with allergies—the last thing you need right now.
90,000 6 things that can kill you at home
We have collected even more useful information about allergies here.
Why allergies can occur even at home
If you are already under 30, but you have never run out of nose after hugging a cat, this does not mean absolutely nothing. Allergy symptoms can occur at any age – even in adults.
Heredity plays an important role here. If one of the parents had an allergy, you have a 30-50% chance of getting it.If both parents were allergic, this figure jumps to 60-80%. However, even in such a situation there is a chance to “outgrow” the disease: in those over 50, the symptoms sometimes subside.
The cause of sudden runny nose and watery eyes can be close contact with a potential allergen. If from childhood you are accustomed to strictly monitor cleanliness, but on self-isolation because of the blockage of work, you forgot the last time you wiped the dust, then you risk getting acquainted with unpleasant symptoms. They can occur if the immune system was not in the best shape when faced with an allergen, for example, during pregnancy or illness.
What allergens can be found in the apartment
It consists of of the smallest particles of food, pollen, tissue fibers and skin flakes – both yours and your pets. Often, dust mites are added to this set, already killer for any allergy sufferer. These are tiny creatures that feed on particles of the epidermis and live where it is warm and humid. Bed linen, upholstered furniture and carpets are their favorite habitats. Allergies are caused by mites excrement and dust-mixing particles of their decaying remains.
The requirements for living conditions for mold are approximately the same as for ticks: if only it is moist and warm. She especially likes a kitchen or bathroom with poor ventilation and leaking pipes. Mold spores end up in the air, and if inhaled, the immune system can overreact – and this is how the allergy develops.
Contrary to popular belief, the irritating factor is not at all the hair of dogs and cats. are to blame for their urine, saliva and tiny skin particles that mix with the dust and spread throughout the apartment. And no, there are no hypoallergenic breeds.
For example cockroaches. Their excrement and chitinous cover contains protein, which is capable of causing an allergic reaction. In some cases, the case can even reach asthma. If you needed an additional reason to keep order in the kitchen, then here it is.
Self-isolation is unlikely to save here: the apartment still needs to be ventilated from time to time, so allergens from the street can easily get into the room.And if you don’t use deliveries and go grocery shopping yourself, you risk bringing birch or alder pollen home on your clothes or hair.
And also cosmetics. Preservatives, antibacterial ingredients and fragrances are capable of provoking allergies. However, it does not always appear after the first application: you can use the same cream for years, and then find that some strange rashes have appeared on the skin. Cleaning gloves do not help everyone: if they are made of latex, then themselves can cause a negative reaction.
Sometimes an excessive love of cleanliness can lead to allergies. If on self-isolation you decide to devote your free time to cleaning, and after a few hours in latex gloves your hands turn red and itchy, these may be symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Antihistamines will help out – for example, “Suprastin”. It takes effect within 15-30 minutes after administration and helps to cope with the manifestations of contact dermatitis. The drug is also useful during trips to nature after self-isolation.It is a versatile allergy medicine for the home medicine cabinet: it can be used for reactions to pollen, insect bites, and even food and medicine. “Suprastin” is suitable for adults and children from 3 years old.
What to do if everything itches
Symptoms to pay attention to
Allergies are unpredictable and can remind of themselves at any time of the year. In spring or summer, a sudden attack of sneezing is easier to blame on pollen, but dust mites and cockroaches do not care whether April is now or October.
Allergic reactions can manifest themselves in different ways, but there are symptoms that occur most often :
- The nose is clogged or is flowing out of it for no obvious reason.
- Eyes are red, itchy and watery.
- The person constantly sneezes or coughs.
- Tingling sensation in the throat appears.
- Shortness of breath worries.
- Skin redness occurs, accompanied by itching and flaking.
Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish an allergy from an acute respiratory viral infection, so it is better to do without self-activity and not diagnose yourself on the Internet. If you suspect that viruses are not to blame for a persistent runny nose, contact your physician and take a blood test for total immunoglobulin E. Perhaps, with the result of this test, you will be sent to an allergist – you will need to undergo additional tests to determine the allergen.
Coping with allergies
Keep it clean
Dust with a damp cloth, mop or vacuum the floor once or twice a week – ideally with a HEPA filter.Wear a mask when cleaning to avoid inhaling irritating particles. It is better to refuse from household chemicals with fragrances in favor of products without bright fragrances.
The optimum temperature in the apartment is from 20 to 22 ° C, and the air humidity should not exceed 50%. If you are ventilating, hang a damp gauze curtain on the window or balcony door to trap at least some of the pollen.
Don’t let pets into the bedroom
And if you live in a one-room apartment, then at least don’t let them jump on the bed.You need to wash the animal after each walk – a dog or cat can drag pollen from the street on the coat.
Tray cleaning should be entrusted to a household without allergies, but if this is not possible, wear a mask, and when finished, wash your hands thoroughly. By the way, it is worth washing your hands every time you cuddle a cat or scratch a dog.
Change bed linen on time
This should be done at least once a week, and sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases should be washed at 60 ° C.Dry the laundry in the room, not on the open balcony, otherwise it will collect pollen on itself. And do not forget about decorative pillows and stuffed toys – they should also be sent to the wash on a regular basis.
Replace feather pillows and woolen blankets with synthetic fill. And to make life as difficult as possible for ticks, you can buy a protective mattress cover.
Get rid of the trash
The fewer dust collectors in your home, the less risk of allergies. It is better to get rid of carpets right away – even a vacuum cleaner is not always capable of collecting all the dust from a long pile, and if you clean the carpet with a damp sponge, there will be expanse for mold.Remove books and decor such as figurines and caskets from open shelves and into a closet. Curtains and bedspreads are great at collecting dust, so wash or vacuum them regularly.
Tidy up the bathroom
Make sure everything is ok with ventilation. If the bathroom is always damp, leave the door open after you shower. When cleaning, remember to clean the joints between the tiles, and regularly wash the rugs and shower curtain. After washing dry, wipe the rubber seal on the door of the washing machine.Finally, don’t hesitate to fix the leaking faucet until later. So the mold will not have time to grow, and the cockroaches will have nothing to drink.
Do not make a mess in the kitchen
All moldy food from the refrigerator should immediately go to the trash bin. Wipe the refrigerator itself once a week from the inside – both the walls, and the shelves, and the seals. Remove the crumbs from the table and sweep the floor, otherwise the neighbour’s cockroaches will come running for a treat. It is better not to store flour, pasta and cereals in open packs – pour them into tightly closed containers.Take out the trash regularly and use a bucket with a lid so that insects have nothing to profit from.
Leave the house less often when everything is blooming around
In the end, no one has canceled the self-isolation regime. The less you walk down the street, the lower your risk of breathing in pollen. Keep a flowering calendar for allergy-causing plants handy just in case. For example, birch blooms in April, Gismeteo even has a daily forecast of the concentration of its pollen in the air.
Experienced allergy sufferers know that during the flowering period or with year-round allergies, you cannot do without modern means that allow you to stay active throughout the day.Suprastinex is an innovative drug that can be taken for a long time, up to 6 months. In therapeutic doses, the drug practically does not cause drowsiness and allows you to maintain a habitual lifestyle even at the height of the allergic season. Suprastinex tablets are suitable for adults – just one dose per day is enough, and for children from 2 to 6 years old it is better to use the drug in drops.
How to overcome allergies
There are contraindications. Before use, you must consult with a specialist.
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How to get rid of allergens in apartment
Our home is a place where we feel completely safe. But when it comes to allergies, your own home can be a source of danger. Even the most perfectly clean and spacious, bright apartment or house can be sources of many allergens. If a person suffers from any form of allergy, this becomes a serious problem, symptoms of both year-round and seasonal reactions are provoked.That is why every conscientious owner should know how to get rid of allergens in an apartment.
What causes allergies?
Most allergens can be found in homes all year round, and in many people they provoke a runny nose, sore throat and itching, tearing after contact with the substance. If allergy symptoms occur regardless of seasonal changes, the following allergens should be excluded:
Pollen.Can accumulate in the home. Pollen enters the premises on clothing, hair and hair of pets, and also settles on surfaces, penetrating through open doors or windows.
Symptoms: runny nose and itching in the nose, sneezing attacks, nasal congestion, discomfort in the eyes – tearing, stinging, swelling of the eyelids and their redness. Feeling tired, decreased ability to work.
Mold. The fungus releases microscopic spores into the air. If inhaled, these spores can cause allergy symptoms.Mold usually grows in warm, humid corners of the home, such as window sills, showers, and under-sink cabinets.
Symptoms: runny nose with profuse mucus, itching in the nose, sneezing attacks, nasal congestion, watery eyes, cough, difficulty breathing.
Dust mites. Found throughout the home, but most commonly found in the bedroom. They prefer warm and humid environments and usually live in bedding, carpets, and upholstered furniture.
Symptoms: runny nose and nasal congestion, tearing, itching in the mouth and nose, insomnia, constant fatigue and rapid fatigue, decreased ability to work, signs of conjunctivitis – itching and redness of the eyes.
Pets. Contrary to popular belief, people with pet allergies are sensitive to saliva, dandruff (dead skin cells), or animal urine rather than fur. This is why breeds of hairless animals, sometimes advertised as “hypoallergenic,” can also cause allergy symptoms.
Pet waste products are widely distributed throughout the home, but most concentrated in pet’s favorite areas.
Symptoms: sneezing, coughing, itchy nose, runny nose and congestion, redness of the eyes, discomfort, swelling of the face, allergic dermatitis (rash, urticaria, itching).
Allergy to pets can lead to bronchial asthma, among the manifestations of which are breathing difficulties, “whistling” and wheezing in the chest, insomnia, night cough and choking.
Household chemicals. Many household products for cleaning and personal care (detergents, washing powders, adhesives and solvents, hair dyes) not only damage the skin of our hands, but also cause allergies themselves.
Symptoms: skin rash, itching, redness, cracks, peeling, “urticaria”; runny nose with profuse mucus, nasopharyngeal tickling, cough, itching; if the substance enters the body – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
Latex.It is generally accepted that latex allergy is an occupational disease that affects doctors and beauty industry professionals who use latex gloves on a daily basis. However, in everyday life we find a sufficient number of latex products that can cause allergies: balloons, baby pacifiers, car and bicycle tires.
Symptoms: itching and swelling of the skin, redness, wound formation; cracks in the skin, blisters; irritation of the nasal mucosa and eyes.
Paints and varnishes.Household paints and varnishes can also cause an allergic reaction if the chemicals they contain are inhaled.
Symptoms: nausea, cough, tearing, pain in the eyes; redness of the skin, itching, rash; runny nose, irritation of the mucous membranes.
Houseplants. Many types of houseplants we are used to can also cause allergies. The reaction can be caused by essential oils, spores and fragrances produced by plants.
Symptoms: skin rash and itching, facial edema, runny nose, mucosal irritation, dry cough, increased salivation.
Getting rid of allergens in the bedroom.
The bedroom is perhaps the most important room in our home. This is where we spend most of our time recuperating after a hard day at work. It is here that you need to put things in order first of all, if you are thinking about how to remove allergens from the apartment.So that this island of coziness and comfort does not become a source of danger, you need to carry out some procedures that will help protect the room from allergens.
Fight dust mites. Dust mites are the most common cause of allergies, causing reactions in millions of people around the world. These tiny insects do not like to draw attention to themselves, so it is not so easy to spot them. They live in mattresses, pillows, blankets, sheets, and carpets. As a preventive measure, use hypoallergenic agents, which are usually available in the form of a spray.
A few more tips: wash your bedding often, do not go to bed with wet hair (mites love moisture), and change pillows, blankets and mattresses if possible. Following these tips, you do not have to resort to such a radical method as treating an apartment from allergens.
Wash bedding in hot water. To kill dust mites and flush allergens, set the washing machine to a high temperature – 60 degrees or higher.
Remove the blinds. Due to their unusual shape, Venetian blinds accumulate dust in hard-to-reach places, where you cannot reach with a rag. It is preferable to replace them with ordinary fabric curtains, which are easy to remove and wash regularly in a typewriter.
Get rid of unnecessary trinkets. Dust is easy to remove from flat surfaces, on small objects of complex shapes – much more difficult. Think about whether you really need all these CDs, books and toys that give your room a charm and personality.Maybe they should be hidden in closed cabinets?
Wash stuffed toys. Plush toys can store a huge amount of dust, so they need to be washed more often – at least once a month. But remember that constant washing does not have the best effect on the appearance of toys – do not forget to use special anti-wear compounds.
Hide the rugs. The best choices for allergy sufferers are tiles, linoleum and wood floors. If you love soft flooring, then buy a couple of small rugs that can be washed easily.
Keep animals out of bed. No matter how seductive the idea of falling asleep with your beloved pet may seem, it’s better not. Animals are one of the most popular causes of allergies. Their hair and dandruff settle on furniture and cause allergic reactions.
Store clothes elsewhere. When you are outdoors, a huge amount of allergens are deposited on your clothes. It is very important to find another storage place for outerwear – in a closed cabinet, or better – in another room altogether.
We get rid of allergens in the kitchen.
The kitchen is the epicenter of allergens in the home: food, chemicals, humid air and poor ventilation make this room a real danger for allergy sufferers. To keep your kitchen and dining room safe at all times, follow these simple tips.
Take it easy with the chemicals. Many products that we regularly use on the farm (cleaning, varnishes, paints), firstly, contain chemicals that provoke asthma, and secondly, they contain organic allergens.Try to reduce the amount of such funds and do not forget to throw away unnecessary ones. Always keep them in closed containers.
Don’t forget about wet cleaning. Wipe all kitchen surfaces with a damp cloth at least once a week. Dry fabrics can leave fibers and allergens in your home.
Fight mold in the refrigerator. There is a rubber seal around the perimeter of the door in the refrigerator, in which mold often starts. Wipe it down regularly.
Take care of ventilation. The humidity in the kitchen is very high – boiling pots during cooking and a working dishwasher contribute to this. Remember to turn on the hood to reduce the humidity in the room.
Getting rid of allergens in the bathroom.
As in the case of the kitchen, the main danger in the bathroom is the high level of humidity, which stimulates the development of mold. But another problem in the bathroom is stagnant air and lack of air conditioning.Here are some simple tips to help you fight allergens in the bathroom.
Do not forget to disassemble damp laundry. Make sure that wet towels do not accumulate in the room and do not forget to wash them often;
Remove the curtains. Constantly wet curtains are an ideal place for mold to grow. Better to remove them and replace them with a hard glass curtain that is easy to wipe.
Forget about chemical fresheners.This is not the best way to combat bad odor. Better to open the door or window more often, turn on the fan.
90,000 Top 7 allergens in our home and how to deal with them
Our homes are full of potential allergens. In order not to experience constant itching in the nose and eyes, allergy sufferers need to know how to protect themselves from them.
Runny nose and allergens
Your nose periodically stops letting in air, starts itching and reddening, leaks from it, do you sneeze? Even if these symptoms are rare, you may be a “companion in illness” to 14-35 percent of Russians suffering from allergic rhinitis (AR).Depending on when the disease makes itself felt and to which allergens the nose is “triggered”, seasonal AR and year-round AR are isolated.
The spectrum of allergens causing AR is relatively large (pollen, antigens of domestic animals and pests, mold and not only). Special analyzes help to pinpoint the source of allergy, which are described in detail in our large material on allergies. Although science has now proposed effective means of suppressing allergies, the most effective treatment is to eliminate allergens, that is, avoid them.In this article, we will tell you how to protect yourself from allergies in your home.
Animal in the house
By itself, the hair of cats and dogs is relatively harmless, the allergy develops mainly to antigens that are found in their saliva, urine and skin. The shorthaired breed should not be expected to be hypoallergenic. Also, the allocation of a certain living zone in the apartment for a pet will not give results: allergens will find their way to you.
In case of such an allergy, it is advisable not to have animals, and if they are already in the house, then it may make sense to look for a new good owner for them.Some studies show that if your dog is shampooed twice a week, the number of allergens in the apartment drops dramatically. But how much it alleviates allergies remains a question.
Fish and turtles practically do not cause allergies, but it should be borne in mind that fish food can be a convenient refuge for dust mites, which will be discussed below. Many animal allergens can persist in an apartment, in particular in furniture, for many months. Therefore, it is sometimes not immediately possible to feel the effect of the disappearance of the source of allergy.
Cockroach excrement, “stray” rats and mice often cause allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma. They need to be fought with all available means:
- Store food and food waste out of the reach, keep it clean;
- , if possible, there should be no sources of water and moisture available;
- fill up all possible cracks, set up traps, use poisons;
- , if necessary, contact the specialists in disinsection and deratization;
- After removing the pests, clean them thoroughly.
Mold – colonies of fungi, the spores of which have a high allergenic potential. Its presence in the home can lead to the development of rhinitis and bronchial asthma. In the fight against mold, control of indoor humidity is key. Leaking taps and leaking roofs must be repaired, it is advisable to establish exhaust ventilation in the bathroom, rugs must be removed from it, and so on. It is reliably known that with a decrease in humidity, even in a room infected with fungal spores, allergy symptoms are relieved.
Dust and its mites
The dust itself is not as dangerous as the mites living in it. And ticks are not as dangerous as their discharge. Dust mites or house dust mites live in carpets, pillows, mattresses and feed on human skin flakes. Ways to deal with them:
- Humidity control. Air conditioning and climate control can help. With a drop in humidity below 50%, mites slow down reproduction and may even become inactive.
- Acaricides – chemical preparations against ticks.They can be used to kill mites in carpets and upholstered furniture. When used in combination with other methods, they can relieve the symptoms of tick allergy.
- Arrangement of the bed. Choose pillows and blankets filled with artificial fibers, it is necessary to refuse feathers and down. Impervious (anti-mite) mattress toppers and pillowcases can help relieve allergy symptoms. Bedspreads should be lint-free and easy to wash, and should be washed regularly.
- Cleaning with a vacuum cleaner with special filters, systematic wet cleaning.
Pollen has no place in the house
Pollen provokes seasonal AR or hay fever. To take action on time, you need to know the flowering schedule of plants to which you are allergic. Here are some tips for avoiding pollen from the NHS and the Russian Allergy Journal when blooming “dangerous” plants:
- do not dry washed items outside;
- keep windows and doors closed;
- if possible, use air conditioners with special filters;
- glasses with tight-fitting frames will help to protect eyes on the street;
- after returning from the street, you need to change your clothes and take a shower;
- go around parks and fields.
Rhinitis and food allergy
AR may be due to food allergies. In one study, it was shown that it develops in 35% of children with this condition. Among the main food allergens that provoke AR, scientists name peanuts, milk, shrimp and eggs. In Russia, citrus fruits, chocolate, tomatoes, and strawberries are also among the leading food allergens. This highlights the need for allergy testing to select an allergen avoidance strategy.
But most cases of food-related allergic rhinitis are due to cross-allergy.An example would be apple allergy in people who are hypersensitive to birch pollen. This phenomenon develops when allergens are structurally similar to each other at the molecular level.
Measures to combat household allergens, which are not mentioned above, but are recommended by domestic allergists (source):
- remove carpets from the apartment;
- Do not keep stuffed animals in the house;
- Do not store things under the bed;
- Do not start houseplants;
- Store clothes and books in closed cabinets;
- Limit the amount of upholstered furniture;
- curtains should not be draped, they should be washed once every three months;
- wall covering must be washable.
Knowing “your allergens”, their sources and how to deal with them will help you feel good at any time of the year and in any home.
Food Allergy | Tervisliku toitumise informatsioon
Although people have suffered from allergic diseases for a very long time, allergies became a serious problem in the second half of the 20th century. Food allergy is an inadequate immune response to food.
Essence and incidence of the disease
Allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction triggered by specific immune mechanisms.Allergy is the clinical manifestation of allergic symptoms.
Allergens are substances that cause an allergic reaction. The most common allergens are proteins. The reaction to an allergen can be of an immediate type, and then it is relatively easy to detect, or a delayed type, and then it can appear hours or days after contact with the allergen. The delayed response is relatively difficult to detect.
Why food allergies occur is still unclear.One theory is that vaccinations in babies are the cause, which boosts the immune system, but scientific research does not support this theory. Another theory blames early refusal to breastfeed and the proteins in formula for infant formula feeding. There is also a hygienic hypothesis, according to which everything is too clean, and the immune system is “bored” and “looking for something to do.”
Allergies at one age or another take away about 20% of the population, but about 1-2% are constantly suffering from allergies.There are more allergy sufferers in the city than in the countryside. Although allergies can kill anyone of all ages, food allergies affect primarily babies and preschoolers. The mucous membranes of the alimentary canal and respiratory tract in children under one year of age are not yet fully formed and easily pass foreign proteins.
A hereditary predisposition is very important for the occurrence of food allergies. Families with a child or parent with a food allergy are called at risk families.
Cross-allergy – an effect in which allergens with a similar chemical structure reinforce each other’s action. Other food allergens, stress, stomach acidity, and other factors can also influence the course of food allergies.
Keeping food allergies under control
The clinical picture of food allergies can be very different. Symptoms can range from very mild to extremely severe, even fatal anaphylactic shock. Clinical manifestations of food allergy occur primarily in the respiratory tract, alimentary canal, and on the skin.Respiratory disorders include sneezing and coughing; the lips, tongue, and base of the tongue may itch and swell. Food allergy can also occur in asthmatic episodes, but is not a common cause of bronchial asthma. Skin manifestations are expressed in dermatitis or urticaria. The main disorders of the alimentary canal are vomiting and diarrhea. In the case of infants, they are primarily caused by cow’s milk allergy.
A pregnant woman should eat a variety of foods to provide her body with all the necessary nutrients.Alcohol, medicines, food additives, preservatives are absorbed into breast milk. Therefore, a nursing mother should be especially careful in her choice of food. The scientific evidence for the link between infant nutrition and allergies is conflicting. In general, it is believed that breast milk may provide some protection. Research shows that early exposure to new foods in high-risk populations reduces the risk of atopic asthma and other allergic diseases.It is not clear, however, whether this is due to the infant’s age or the fact that he was introduced to new products while breastfeeding, which plays the role of protection against celiac disease when introduced to gluten. There has also been found evidence that breastfeeding for at least 4 months versus feeding with cow’s milk formulas can delay or reduce the onset of atopic dermatitis and cow’s milk allergy in early childhood. 90,379 babies 90,380 are primarily allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, barley, rice, oats, soybeans, beans, peas, bananas, fish and beef.The main allergens for children of preschool and school age are nuts and almonds. Fruits (peaches, kiwi, apples, etc.) and vegetables (paprika, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, etc.) can also cause allergies. In adults allergies are often caused by nuts and almonds, as well as spices (pepper, cumin, cinnamon, mustard, etc.). If allergic manifestations occur before the age of three, in most cases they disappear later.
Cow’s milk allergy kills 0.5–4% of children and usually resolves at school age.Cow’s milk contains many proteins, and allergies can be caused by one or more of them. If you are allergic to cow’s milk, you need to find substitutes. Soy protein-based breastfeeding formulas are widely used, but approximately 25% of babies with cow’s milk allergies cannot tolerate soy protein either. By hydrolyzing cow’s milk proteins to peptides and amino acids, cow’s milk substitutes can be obtained. The lower the molar mass of the hydrolysis products, the more unpleasant taste the mixtures acquire.The same applies to mixtures based on synthetic amino acids.
In some cases, it is sufficient to heat the milk before use. This also helps when the allergy is caused by heat-labile proteins. Since the chemical composition of goat’s milk and cow’s milk is different, replacing cow’s milk with goat’s milk may help. If you are allergic to cow’s milk, avoid all foods that contain milk and dairy products, such as butter, cottage cheese, and ice cream.To avoid troubles, you should carefully study the composition of the product indicated on the package.
Allergy to chicken eggs usually begins in early childhood, before the second year of life, and ends by the onset of school age. Most of the allergens in eggs are actually in the protein, but egg yolk and chicken can also cause allergies. Allergy to chicken eggs in different people manifests itself with different strengths. So, some allergy sufferers can eat boiled eggs, while in others, even being in a room where eggs are beaten causes a strong allergy.
Fish Allergy can mean food allergies, cleaning, and even frying odors. The most common symptoms are skin irritation and alimentary canal disorders (vomiting, pain, diarrhea). Fish allergy can also occur as an allergic reaction of the whole organism, that is, anaphylactic shock. Fish allergies can also be caused by eating poultry or pigs fed with fishmeal. Allergy to fish does not go away at an older age.
Allergies to fruits and vegetables are generally caused by fruits that have not been cooked. Jams, compotes, juices, boiled and frozen vegetables usually do not cause allergies. Of the fruits, apricots, bananas, kiwi, apples, pears, peaches, exotic fruits (mango, papaya, carambola) most often cause allergies. Among the vegetables, the most dangerous are paprika, rutabagas, turnips, carrots, beets, and onions. Legumes, especially soy, can also cause allergies. Since soy protein is widely used in the production of sausages and confectionery, people with soy protein allergies should be especially careful.Soybean oil, on the other hand, does not cause allergies.
With the increase in consumption of nuts and almonds, the number of people allergic to them also increased. Nut butter has even caused many deaths in the United States.
Spice allergy is often cross-linked with pollen and fragrance allergies. Among the spices, curry, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, cumin, etc. are allergic.
Since ancient times, allergies to honey have been known . Honey, in addition to allergens, contains pollen.
Pollen allergy is a cross-allergy with food varieties, especially with allergies to nuts and almonds (80–90%) and fruits and vegetables.
Allergies – causes, symptoms and treatment
Allergy is a condition in the body in which the immune system sees a threat in substances that are not actually dangerous to humans.The immune system considers them to be antigens, so it begins to develop antibodies against them. During this period, a person begins to feel that the body is fighting a disease, which is manifested by unpleasant symptoms.
In reality, there are no real pathogens. This increased sensitivity of the body to certain substances (allergens) is called allergy.
Symptoms and signs
An allergic reaction can be of different intensity – from mild to acute.Moreover, depending on the allergen, a person may show different symptoms. The main symptoms are:
- animal allergy. It is easy to install when, upon contact with pets, eyes turn red and tears flow, a runny nose or dry cough begins. Allergies to cats and dogs can also cause redness and itching of the skin;
- food allergy. Causes redness and induration of the skin, accompanied by itching. Sometimes conjunctivitis or runny nose appears.Allergy to the skin manifests itself in the form of dermatitis. Inhalation of vapors or particles of allergens affects the respiratory system;
- allergy to bloom. Pollen causes allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, wheezing and dry cough, itching of the tongue and palate;
- allergy to drugs. May manifest as urticaria, attacks of bronchial asthma, allergic dermatitis, Quincke’s edema. Allergy spots increase over time. From small ones, they can merge into large ones.
Similar symptoms can occur with allergies to protein, cold or dust, and insect bites.
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Causes and risk factors
Modern medicine does not give the exact causes of allergies in adults and children.The main role in the mechanism of its occurrence is assigned to genetics. If one of the parents has it, then the child will have it with a 30% probability, if both – with 70%. Severe allergies during pregnancy can develop due to a decrease in immunity.
Doctors only cite risk factors that trigger the pathological process. Such factors include:
- unbalanced nutrition;
- severe stress;
- excessive drug use;
- unfavorable ecology;
- Frequent respiratory tract infections: tonsillitis, bronchitis, rhinitis;
- the presence of large quantities of household allergens;
- artificial feeding, including premature transfer to it.
By addressing risk factors, the risk of allergic reactions can be reduced.
In children and adults, allergy symptoms can provoke multiple complications. Among them, the most dangerous are:
- anaphylactic shock;
- acute vascular insufficiency;
- nausea and dizziness;
- Quincke’s edema.
In severe cases, anaphylactic shock and Quincke’s edema can be fatal. With atopic dermatitis against the background of skin allergies, other skin diseases are often associated, including mycosis and herpes.
When symptoms manifest in the eyes, corneal hypertrophy can develop due to frequent rubbing. It limits a person’s vision. About half of children who suffered from skin allergies in childhood may develop bronchial asthma in adulthood.
When to see a doctor
If you experience allergy symptoms, you should consult an allergist. Do not ignore its signs, as an allergic reaction can give serious complications. If symptoms are observed for more than a month or appear regularly, a visit to a specialist is required.Experienced allergists work at Medicina JSC (Academician Roitberg’s clinic) in the center of Moscow, who will find out the cause of the unpleasant condition and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
It is worth contacting an allergist, even if a person does not yet know what an allergy looks like, but he has a predisposition to it, for example, hereditary. This will allow you to identify possible allergens in advance and take measures to prevent the development of a reaction to them.
Preparing for a doctor’s visit
At the appointment, the allergist asks the patient about the existing symptoms and what preceded their appearance.Therefore, when preparing for an appointment, it is necessary to think over and even write down what signs appear and in what situations.
This will allow the doctor to guess the type of allergen that is causing the negative reaction. Even at the reception, the allergist will examine the skin, so it is better to wear clothes with which it will be easy to provide access to the foci of inflammation on the skin.
Diagnosis of allergies in adults and children
JSC “Medicine” (the clinic of Academician Roitberg) in the center of Moscow has all the necessary diagnostic methods.We use advanced techniques and modern technical equipment. Therapeutic procedures can be performed both on an outpatient and inpatient basis.
First of all, the doctor draws on diagnostic signs of allergy on the face and other areas, as well as mucous membranes. Subjective complaints of the patient are also taken into account. To confirm the diagnosis, appoint:
- allergen analysis. Also called breakdown, it plays an important role in diagnosis. The tests are carried out at the stage of remission.To do this, a drop of a solution with a small amount of an allergen is applied to the skin, after which the reaction is monitored;
- blood test for allergies. There are also changes in the blood: an increase in eosinophils, immunoglobulins E;
- analysis for specific antibodies, for example, to a parasitic disease, infection or dust.
The main method of treating allergies is adherence to a special diet.This is what allows you to get rid of unpleasant symptoms and minimize the risk of relapse. The diet for allergies is followed for life, since this disease is chronic. It requires a complete exclusion from the diet of those foods that provoke the appearance of its symptoms. There are 2 types of diet:
- specific. It is prescribed for patients who have been identified by laboratory allergens, for example, milk, eggs, protein, chocolate, etc. – here the diet will be individual for each person;
- nonspecific.Observed when no specific allergen has been identified. Since no symptom provocateur has been identified, all potential food allergy provocateurs should be excluded from the diet.
On a non-specific diet, the patient is additionally recommended to keep a food diary. It is necessary to record the food consumed and the reaction that occurs to it on a daily basis. In this way, the patient will gradually be able to identify food allergens on their own.
Additionally, other methods of treatment are practiced today:
- intravenous laser blood irradiation.Provides immuno-strengthening and anti-inflammatory effects;
- allergen-specific immunotherapy. An allergen is introduced into the body, the dose of which is gradually increased in order to reduce the body’s sensitivity to it.
In the acute period of allergic reactions, the patient is prescribed pharmacological drugs.These are mainly drugs with antihistamines. In mild cases, they are prescribed in tablet form, and in more severe cases, in injectable form, which is characterized by a faster effect.
Allergy medications can also be used once, when a person accidentally ate a food allergen. This will help relieve the symptoms of the disease. Allergy remedies also include various nasal sprays with a vasoconstrictor effect. They help reduce swelling of the mucous membranes and get rid of congestion.But in order to avoid getting used to them, they can be used no longer than 5-7 days.
In severe cases, hormone-based corticosteroids are used. A good effect is provided by sorbents that bind and remove toxins and allergens from the body, which reduces the severity of an allergic reaction.
Talk to your doctor about using home remedies for allergies.Otherwise, you can only worsen the situation and aggravate the symptoms. At home, the following remedies are widely used:
- Saline solution for rinsing the nose. At 1 st. water take 1 tsp. salt. The resulting solution is washed out the nose in the morning and in the evening. It helps against hay fever;
- Pepper heel essential oil. It can be used for topical application, but only after thinning. It is also useful to inhale oil vapors, especially in bronchial asthma;
- inhalation over hot water.They help ease breathing and clear mucus from the nose. Essential oils or herbal infusions can be added to the water. Especially preferred is eucalyptus essential oil, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
Myths and dangerous misconceptions in the treatment of allergies
One of the common myths is that if you break the rules of allergy treatment once and eat an allergenic product, then the reaction to it will not occur, and if you eat it often, it will accumulate and manifest itself.In fact, it will appear every time. That is why contact with the allergen must be completely excluded.
Compliance with the rules of prevention is important for those who are at risk of developing allergic reactions. The main preventive measures include:
- Compliance with a hypoallergenic life with limited contact with allergens, regular ventilation and reduction of household chemicals;
- compliance with a hypoallergenic diet that excludes food allergens;
- Avoiding and reducing contact with animals4
- Use of respiratory masks during the flowering period.
How to make an appointment with an allergist
Specialists of JSC “Medicine” (the clinic of Academician Roitberg) work without holidays and weekends, so you can make an appointment at any convenient time. To do this, use the online form on the website or call the contact number.The clinic is very easy to get to as it is located in the center of Moscow, not far from Chekhovskaya, Tverskaya, Novoslobodskaya, Mayakovskaya and Belorusskaya stations.
90,000 Good to know about ALLERGIES TO ANIMALS (dyreallergi)
ALLERGY TO ANIMALS ( dyreallergi )
Useful information on animal allergies – Fact sheet of the Norwegian Asthmatics and Allergy Association
Most hairy animals, the most common pets, can cause an allergic reaction.Allergies can be caused not only by wool and dandruff, but also by allergens (proteins) produced by the sebaceous and salivary glands, as well as urine. These are airborne microparticles that mix with the rest of the dust in the air. Allergic reactions may occur if this air is inhaled. Dust from horses, dogs and cats contains 10-20 different allergens.
Who is allergic to animals?
Most often, animal allergies develop during childhood.This type of allergy is common in asthmatics and is often accompanied by a mite allergy. If the child, before reaching the age of 12-14 years, did not have allergic symptoms, then the likelihood of developing an allergy to animals is reduced. Allergies, however, can also develop in adults.
It is difficult to predict which animals a person can develop an allergic reaction to. Allergy development begins with exposure to a specific allergen, and it can take a long time for symptoms to appear.
Which animals can develop allergies?
As stated above, the vast majority of pets, including mini-pigs, hairless mice, chinchillas and short-haired Chinese poodles, can cause allergies.Insects such as house mites, mosquito larvae and cockroaches can also cause allergies.
The horse and the cat are the distributors of the most powerful allergens. Because of its size, the horse spreads more allergens than small animals, and cats carry allergens over a wider area due to their mobility. Dogs live closest to humans and are therefore the source of the most common form of animal allergy. Without exception, all dog breeds, regardless of the size and amount of hair, produce allergens, but in different quantities and of different types.
The only non-allergic pets are aquarium fish (some may, however, react to fish food) and reptiles such as turtles. Reptiles are not permitted in Norway, but the Food Inspectorate may authorize the importation of certain species of turtles if the need arises for allergies.
It is possible to establish an allergy to animals by a blood test or a Pirquet sample.If you are allergic to a certain type of animal, the test will be positive. There is also the possibility that the person who responds positively to the test will not have allergy symptoms.
It is impossible to predict in advance that a child may be allergic to a particular animal by means of tests. A negative result of the Pirquet test cannot be a basis for predicting future reactions of the body.
Symptoms and treatment
Common symptoms include a runny nose and nasal congestion, watery eyes and stinging eyes, and asthma.Some people may develop eczema or hives. Experience has shown that exposure to feline allergens is at particular risk for an acute asthma attack.
Removing the animal carrier of the allergen from the allergy sufferer’s environment is the most important and most effective method of dealing with allergies. Preventing allergies by administering medications such as cortisone nasal sprays and / or antihistamines in the form of tablets, inhalation sprays, nasal sprays or eye drops is not optimal, but may be necessary in the event of unavoidable contact with an allergen carrier animal.
Immunotherapy or so-called allergy vaccination, in which a canine or feline allergen is injected under the skin, may have a beneficial effect over time. This method, however, involves removing the animal carrier of the allergen from the allergenic’s environment.
Prevention / Protection
In this matter, a distinction should be made between the so-called secondary and primary prevention.
Secondary prophylaxis: If you have symptoms of animal hair allergy, the first prevention advice is to stop purchasing pets.It is, however, very difficult to completely avoid animal allergens, as animal hair can sit on people’s clothes, and thus can be found in schools, kindergartens and on public transport.
If any of the children are allergic to animals, kindergarten staff and teachers should ask other parents to ask their children to wear clothing that has not been in contact with pets. It is also important to leave street clothes in the hallway rather than bringing them into class.A complete ban on keeping cats and dogs in kindergartens and schools should be introduced.
Treatment of animals, especially cats, with various detergents (PetalCleanse) is currently proposed as a way to combat allergies. The amount of allergens in the cat’s fur is also reduced with regular bathing, but this is not recommended as a way to deal with allergies. At best, detergents can have a temporary effect and their use is relevant only for mild forms of animal allergy.Even my cat, it is impossible to get rid of cat allergens in house dust. In addition, frequent washing of an animal can border on bullying.
Primary prevention: To date, there is no reason to recommend not having a dog or cat for the prevention of asthma or allergies, even if there are no allergy sufferers in the family. A study based on an analysis of 20,000 European children during their development from birth to primary school age showed that having pets does not increase or decrease the risk of developing asthma and allergies.Conversely, recently published results from a Danish study show that having pets on the farm or at home acts as a protection against allergy development in children. This is why it is no longer considered appropriate to advise families with children not to have pets.
Having pets brings a lot of joy to many families. Doing blood tests and reaction tests before a family adopts an animal is of little value in determining whether a child will develop an allergy or not.The decision on whether to have an animal in an allergic family or not should be made directly by the adult family members. Getting rid of a pet that a person has already become attached to and from which a person has an allergic reaction can be very difficult. That is why parents must conclude whether they are ready to take such a risk if the child develops allergies to animals. If necessary, you can contact the society for the resettlement of animals.
Can animals protect against asthma and allergies?
Recent studies, as noted above, suggest that contact with pets early in life, before 18 months of age, may protect against the development of asthma and allergies. This is partly because humans develop tolerance for animal allergens, and because the different types of bacteria present on the animal help strengthen the immune system. Further research is needed in this direction, but the results to date indicate that contact with animals can have a protective effect.However, this is a rather complex topic in which it is not easy to give unambiguous advice. To date, it is still not entirely true to recommend the purchase of pets in order to prevent allergies, but it is also not true to recommend not to purchase animals.
Animal Allergy Facts developed in collaboration with the Medical Council of the Norwegian Asthmatics and Allergy Association.
Allergy – PATIENT CRANKS
According to advertisements, allergies are one of the greatest problems of humanity. And this is true, in contrast to what we have to hear further: it is enough to take the “magic” pill – and the disease will recede. But in real life, things are not so simple.
It turns out that allergies are not only itching, lacrimation, sneezing and “fountain” from the nose, but also high fever, nausea, diarrhea and general weakness. Surprisingly, when all the white light is not nice and even walls irritate, our nervousness can also be a manifestation of allergies.And although this problem has been known to people since the construction of the pyramids, it is over the past two decades that the incidence of allergies has increased 3-4 times, and today more than 25% of the world’s population suffers from its various manifestations. Some authors cite even more depressing figures – allergies torment up to 60% of the inhabitants of megalopolises! So, the symptoms of the disease are diverse, and the reasons are myriad. Everything that surrounds us – plants, insects, house dust, animal hair, household chemicals – the body can react unpredictably.So what is this trouble and how to deal with it?
Allergy, according to one of the modern definitions, is an excessive reaction of the human body’s immune system to foreign substances (allergens) .
The immune system is our “special forces” responsible for the constancy of the internal environment of the body. All “outsiders” who have penetrated into it from the outside (bacteria, viruses, parasites), or disguised as their own “terrorists” that have appeared in the course of life (atypical cells) must be rendered harmless.The immune system has the ability to distinguish “ours” from “alien” and take measures to destroy it. A considerable “army” of “fighters” ready for defense is responsible for order in the body: whole organs (thymus, spleen), islets of lymphoid tissue (lymph nodes, pharyngeal lymphoid ring, intestinal nodes, etc.), blood cells (various types of lymphocytes) and antibodies (special protein molecules).
Normally, when a “stranger” (for example, a virus) first enters the body, the immune system reacts by analyzing and memorizing its structure, and then produces antibodies that remain in the blood plasma.The next intake of the same antigen causes an immediate attack of pre-synthesized antibodies, which quickly neutralize the “uninvited” guest, and the person does not get sick. In addition to antibodies, T-lymphocytes are also involved in the battle, capable of secreting enzymes that destroy the antigen. They are called that – “T-killers”.
An allergic reaction is not fundamentally different from the normal response of the immune system to an antigen. The difference lies only in the inadequacy of the relationship between the strength of the reaction and the cause that causes it.
In a normal state, the body ignores the effects of most substances entering it. Refractoriness – as doctors call this “ignore”.
So why do some people develop strong reactions to things that others simply don’t notice? Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question. The dramatic rise in the number of sensitized people in recent decades is due in part to the sheer number of new compounds they encounter in their daily lives.
Most common exogenous allergens
Food – milk, eggs, chocolate, honey, citrus fruits, cereals, spices, preservatives, food colors.
Household – home, hotel, library dust and some of its components (microscopic dermatophagoid mites, microorganisms, etc.), dander and hair of cats, dogs, horses and other animals, feathers and down (including from pillows), dry food for fish, poultry excrement, cockroaches, mold spores (especially in damp rooms).
Contact – detergents, washing powders, polishes, cosmetics, products made of synthetic materials.
Pollen – pollen of trees (birch, aspen, hazel, etc.), cereals (rye, corn, sunflower, etc.), weeds (ragweed, dandelion, wormwood, etc.), meadow grasses (hedgehog , timothy, ryegrass, etc.).
Chemical – low molecular weight (nickel, chromium, mercury, dinitrochlorobenzene, etc.) and high molecular weight chemicals (varnishes, paints, polymers).
Insect – poisons and allergenic substances of insects.
Medicinal – any drug can be an allergen.
In addition to external allergens, there are also internal allergens (endoallergens). With injuries, infections, exposure to toxic substances or radiation, the normal structure of tissues is disrupted, and the body perceives them as strangers, reacting with the formation of antibodies.
All types of allergic reactions are based on a single mechanism, in which several stages can be distinguished.
This is the first meeting of the body with an antigen and the production of antibodies to it – sensitization . The reaction occurs with repeated and all subsequent receipts of antigen. Antibodies attack the antigen to destroy it and form complexes antigen – antibody .
The resulting immune complexes damage special mast cells found in many tissues. Mediators of inflammation (histamine, bradykinin, serotonin, etc.) contained in these cells are activated and released into the general bloodstream.
This is the result of the action of inflammatory mediators on organs and tissues. There are various external manifestations of allergy – spasm of the bronchial muscles, increased intestinal motility, gastric secretion and mucus formation, expansion of capillaries, skin rash, rhinitis, etc.
Since allergies can proceed in different ways, the following types of allergic reactions are distinguished .
I type – anaphylactic (immediate type)
Reactions of interaction of immunoglobulins (antibodies) of groups E (IgE) and G (IgG) with an external antigen. The resulting complex is deposited on the membranes of mast cells with the release of a large amount of histamine. Time of occurrence of the reaction: from several minutes to several hours after the penetration of the antigen into the body.Examples: anaphylactic shock, angioedema, urticaria, atopic bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, food allergies in children.
II type – cytotoxic (or cytolytic)
Reactions of interaction of immunoglobulins of groups M and G with the body’s own cells, perceived by the immune system as antigens. As a result, cells are destroyed and killed. Time of development of the clinical picture: up to several hours. Examples: hemolytic anemia, hemolytic jaundice of newborns with Rh-conflict (destruction of red blood cells), thrombocytopenia (platelets die), complications from blood transfusion, administration of drugs (toxic-allergic reaction).
ІІІ type – immunocomplex (Arthus phenomenon)
Immune complexes of antigen molecules and antibodies of groups G and M are deposited on the inner walls of capillaries and cause their damage. Reaction time: from several hours to several days. Examples: serum sickness (immune response to serum administration), glomerulonephritis, rheumatic diseases, allergic dermatitis.
IV type – late hypersensitization (delayed type)
Time of reaction development: one day or more after the antigen enters the body.Reactions occur with the participation of T-lymphocytes (hence their other name – cell-mediated). The attack on the antigen is provided not by antibodies, but by specific clones of T-lymphocytes that multiplied after the previous intake of the antigen. Lymphocytes secrete active substances – lymphokines, which can cause inflammatory reactions. Examples: contact dermatitis, bronchial asthma, rhinitis.
Allergic reactions are also divided according to the nature of the course – seasonal and year-round.
In addition to true (specific) allergies, there are conditions that are clinically very similar to allergic ones, but are not. The release of histamine and other mediators of inflammation does not occur as a result of sensitization of the body with specific antigens, but as a result of any other problems in the body, for example, a decrease in the antitoxic function of the liver during its diseases. Such reactions are called pseudo-allergic (non-specific).
Many authors classify allergic reactions according to clinical forms .
1. Allergodermatosis (allergic skin diseases):
a) atopic dermatitis (severe itching, redness and swelling of skin areas) – occurs in children;
b) urticaria (skin itching, sudden appearance and rapid disappearance of blisters on the skin and / or mucous membranes) – more often in adults;
c) angioedema of Quincke (limited edema of the skin, subcutaneous tissue and mucous membranes, it is dangerous because suffocation may occur when it spreads to the respiratory tract).
2. Allergic rhinitis.
3. Allergic conjunctivitis.
4. Pollinosis (hay fever, spring catarrh) – allergic rhinitis caused by pollen.
5. Bronchial asthma.
6. Serum sickness is a generalized allergic reaction to the administration of medications, in particular to a foreign serum protein.
7. Anaphylactic shock is a reaction of the whole organism to contact with an allergen.It is characterized by initial excitement followed by depression of the central nervous system, bronchospasm and a sharp decrease in blood pressure. This is the most severe manifestation of allergies.
Factors contributing to the development of allergic reactions
Ø Presence of a hereditary predisposition.
Ø Sensitization in early childhood (including in utero).
Ø Exposure to tobacco smoke.
Ø Exposure to sensitizing industrial wastes.
Ø Eating a lot of sweet foods. Such food increases the severity of allergic reactions.
Ø Emotional stress.
Ø Periods of hormonal changes in the body: puberty, pregnancy, menopause, menstruation.
Ø Increased insolation.
Any manifestation of allergy requires a doctor’s consultation to identify the allergen, choose the correct treatment tactics and prevent recurrent allergic reactions.
However, the presence of some symptoms in a patient is a reason for urgent medical attention.
Allergy symptoms that threaten the health and life of the patient
Ø Shortness of breath, shortness of breath, disorders of the nervous system, a sharp drop in blood pressure, asthma attacks.
Ø Signs of laryngeal edema: hoarse voice, “barking” cough, difficulty breathing.
Ø The spread of edema to the upper half of the face.
Ø Manifestations of pronounced anxiety, a feeling of fear, pronounced weakness, increased physical activity.
Ø Abdominal syndrome – nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain of varying intensity.
Ø Allergic rhinitis is accompanied by bloody nasal discharge or fever and purulent nasal discharge.
Ø Emergence of new manifestations of allergy during treatment.
Ø Manifestations of allergies do not diminish within a day after the start of treatment, or recur sporadically.
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Yuri CHERTKOV, doctor, business coach, director of the Medical Marketing Agency
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