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Allergy trigger guide

Allergy trigger guide
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Various allergies may have similar symptoms but are brought on by a range of different triggers. If you or your child is suffering from what you believe to be an allergy, it is worth figuring out if any of these triggers may be to blame. Knowing what is causing the reaction makes avoiding the source and getting any treatment that may help a whole lot easier.

Pollen

One of the most common allergy triggers in the UK is pollen, with up to one in five of us suffering from hay fever at some point in our lives. Symptoms of a pollen allergy include a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes. Hay fever symptoms can be avoided by staying indoors when the pollen count is high and drying your clothes inside rather than hanging them out on a washing line. When staying inside isn’t practical, there are a number of the over-the-counter medications available, including antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays. A GP should be able to prescribe something for those with extreme reactions.

House dust mites

Whether we like the idea or not (and for most of us it’s a definite not!), house dust mites are part of everyday life. These tiny creatures are microscopic organisms that live in house dust. Symptoms are very similar to those experienced by hay fever sufferers but last year-round rather than appearing seasonally. To minimise the effect of house mites you can buy dust mite covers for duvets and mattresses and use hypoallergenic pillows. Bedding should be washed weekly in hot water and the house kept generally free of dust. This is particularly important in the bedroom. Keeping items like soft toys and cushions to a minimum and switching from carpet to wooden floorings will also help.

Foods

Allergy trigger guideWe all know how severe nut allergies can be but that’s not the only food that can trigger a reaction. Allergies to milk, fish, shellfish, wheat and eggs are also common. Symptoms of a food allergy include vomiting, diarrhoea, asthma and swelling of the mouth. Avoiding exposure to the offending food is the best way to protect yourself but antihistamines or steroids may be helpful.  In extreme cases an injection of adrenaline may be needed.

Animals

Some people are allergic to the proteins found in the oil glands, saliva and urine of animals. The best form of protection against this trigger is to avoid the type of animal you are allergic to. Unfortunately, this may mean re-homing a family pet. Animal allergies can take more than two years to manifest so even if you’ve had your pet for a while, don’t presume you’re not allergic to it. If you can’t bear to see your pet go then be sure to wash her regularly and keep her off the bed and other furniture. Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays may work to alleviate symptoms.

Moulds

If your house has one or more damp patches then you may develop an allergy triggered by moulds. These are miniscule pieces of fungi too small to see that float around the air like pollen. Cellars and bathrooms are particular hot spots for moulds, as are soggy garden areas. If the source of the mould is within your home then you can expect to experience symptoms throughout the year. Otherwise, they tend to be worst during the summer and autumn months. As with pollen and dust mites, symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, congestion and itchy eyes, as well as coughing. Avoiding activities such as leaf raking, which can drudge up mould, will help prevent triggering a reaction, as will ensuring damp areas of the home such as bathrooms and kitchens are well ventilated. Any damp spots where mould may grow should be repaired immediately.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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