Sneeze Patrol: How to Stifle Seasonal Allergies
Cats, Pollen, Peanuts: Allergies Explained
If the mere thought of spring makes your eyes itch, your nose run, and your chest tighten, join the club. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, up to 50 million Americans are plagued by seasonal allergies every year. But don't run out to the corner drugstore to stockpile tissues, eyedrops, and nasal spray just yet. We found the best traditional and natural remedies to tackle your worst symptoms, plus super easy-to-follow tips from the experts on how to allergy-proof your home. And that's nothing to sneeze at.
Outdoor allergies are triggered by pollen from grass, weeds, and trees, as well as from mold (surprise, it's not just in your bathroom and basement). The three pollen-heavy seasons are mid to late spring (tree pollen), late spring to summer (grass pollen) and late summer (weed pollen, predominantly ragweed). However, these can vary depending on which area of the country you live in, explains Bruce Dobozin, MD, coauthor of Allergies: The Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Daily Management (Plume, 1999). Mold tends to rear its head in the spring, summer and, especially, the fall. Pet dander has the dubious honor of causing both outdoor and indoor allergies year-round.
Indoor allergies are caused by dust mites, mold, cockroaches, and pet dander. Seasonal changes can increase their severity.
Food allergies occur when the immune system has an abnormal response to a particular food. The most common triggers are milk, soy, wheat, seafood, nuts, and eggs. Unfortunately, there's no cure for food allergies -- you just have to be careful to avoid the individual foods and products that contain the allergens.
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