What Causes Allergies
The topic of allergies can be very tricky, especially when you’re referring to allergies that are found indoors as well as outdoors. So what exactly causes these pesky allergies and how can you effectively treat them? Let’s dive a little deeper to find out.
Pollen from trees, grasses and weeds along with mold spores are all considered common outdoor allergens. Allergens act as “triggers” which cause people to experience symptoms, aka the sneezing, itchy watery eyes, nasal congestion and coughing many of us feel in the spring, summer and fall. If you’ve ever heard the term “seasonal allergies,” this is referring to outdoor allergies that trigger at different times of the year.
Here’s a breakdown of those allergies:
- April-June: Tree Pollen
- May-July: Grass Pollen
- August-September: Ragweed Pollen
- September – October: Mold Spores
Alternatively, there are also indoor allergies which can impact us throughout the entire year. Indoor allergens are comprised of animal dander from animals such as cats and dogs, as well as dust mites and indoor molds. These allergy symptoms typically include sneezing, nasal stuffiness, runny nose, itchy, watery and/or red eyes, itchy ears, and a scratchy throat. In addition, sinus headaches, facial pain and cough can also occur.
Now that we understand the different indoor and outdoor allergies and what causes our reactions to them, it’s time to determine how to treat them. First, a diagnosis is in order. To diagnose allergies, a physician first obtains a history from the patient and performs a physical exam. From there, allergy skin testing is usually performed to determine the cause of any allergic symptoms.
Sadly, there’s no quick and easy answer to treating allergic diseases. The first step is determining the specific cause of symptoms, as mentioned above, followed by a treatment plan including medications to help control symptoms.