Pollen, mold, pets, or dust mites? If you have watery eyes and a stuffy nose, you’re probably more interested in what will stop your symptoms than what’s causing them. But when you know what’s to blame, you can find relief.
If your achoos only come at certain times of the year, you may be allergic to pollen. In the spring, trees are usually responsible for allergies. In summer, grasses and weeds are the main culprits. In fall, it's weeds, especially ragweed.
Your home is your castle -- except when you’re allergic to it. A recent nationwide survey found that over half of all Americans test positive for at least some allergens, and many of these are indoor allergies such as dust, mold, and pet dander.
How can you allergy-proof your home to make it a refuge, not a source of sneezes? Take a tour of your house from room to room, find out where the allergens are lurking, and get relief from indoor allergies.
If your symptoms last all year, you may be allergic to dust mites, pet dander, or mold. Outdoors, mold usually peaks in late summer and early fall. But it can hang around all year.
You can be allergic to more than one thing. You can also have seasonal and year-round allergies. Most people have more than one thing that sets their sneezes off.
What Are Allergy Symptoms?
Your body sees the thing you’re allergic to as an invader. It sends out chemicals like histamine to fight off the foreign substance.
Histamine is what sets off your symptoms. You get congested, and your nose and eyes may itch and water. You probably sneeze a lot.
How Do I Find Out What I'm Allergic To?
Usually your doctor can diagnose allergies based on your symptoms and triggers. If your reactions are more severe or medication doesn’t help, an allergist (a doctor who specializes in treating allergies) may do a skin test to find out what your triggers are.
She'll put tiny bits of things that might cause an allergic reaction (she’ll call them allergens) on your arm or back, and then scratch the surface of your skin. Any places that get red and itchy mean you have an allergy to that specific trigger.
It’s rare, but your doctor may also do a blood test to help diagnose you.
Who Gets Outdoor Allergies?
Lots of people get them. Your doctor may call them "hay fever." No one knows why some people get them and others don't.
If your parents have allergies, there's a higher chance you will, too. If you have asthma or eczema, you're more likely to get hay fever or year-round allergies.