There are a many different allergies that can affect us either on a seasonal basis or all year round.
Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect our everyday activities. Understanding what causes an allergic reaction in the first place and knowing the available product treatments available will help keep symptoms under control.
Find out about the causes of the most common allergies.
Hay fever (also referred to as seasonal allergic rhinitis), is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen, an airborne allergen which is released from grass, trees, weeds and flowers. The allergic reaction is triggered when pollen comes into contact with your mouth, nose eyes and throat. Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September when the pollen count is at its highest as different plants release their pollen into the atmosphere. Typically the pollen season in the UK separates into three main sections:
- Tree pollen – late March to mid-May.
- Grass pollen – mid-May to July.
- Weed pollen – end of June to September
Pets are a major source of allergens which can trigger an allergic reaction. Pet allergy is not a reaction to an animal’s fur, but actually to proteins that are found in pet dander (the dead flakes of skin that an animal sheds), their saliva or urine. Dander is a particular problem because it is very small and can remain airborne for long periods of time. It also collects easily on upholstered furniture and sticks to clothes. Any animal with fur can be a source of pet allergy, but pet allergies are most commonly associated with cats and dogs. Pet allergy is rarely caused by animals that don’t have fur, such as fish and reptiles.
Many people suffer year-round from allergy symptoms caused by indoor allergens that include dust mites and mold. Dust Mites A speck of dust can contain fabric fibres, human skin particles, microscopic creatures called dust mites, animal dander, mould spores, food particles and other debris. Of these, house dust mites and animal dander (see pet allergies) are the most common triggers of allergy symptoms. House dust mites, also known as Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. are almost always present in house dust (even in the most clean and tidy homes). These microscopic creatures live in carpets, mattresses and upholstered furniture in homes and offices. They thrive in warm, humid climates. They eat dead skin cells shed by humans and other things found in house dust. It is the protein found in dust mite droppings that can trigger house dust mite allergies. Indoor molds If you have an allergy that occurs over several seasons, you may be allergic to the spores of molds or other fungi. Indoor molds and mildew need dampness typically found in basements, bathrooms or anywhere with leaks. Mold and mildew are fungi. The “seeds,” called spores, travel through the air where they can be inhaled and get into your nose. Inhaling these spores cause allergic reactions in some people.
Urticaria is an inflammation of the skin, which is triggered when the immune system releases histamine. The histamine causes blood vessels to leak, and the skin to swell. This can leave you with itchy, raised, reddish bumps or welts that range in size. Urticaria (or hives), can appear anywhere on the face or body. Common causes include :
- Pain medications
- Insects or parasites
- Heat or cold
- Alcohol or food
- Household detergents
- Hair Dyes
- Oils & Paints
- Metals such as nickel, commonly found in jewelry
- Latex found in some household gloves
- Certain medicines
- Plants such as poison ivy