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Air Allergies

Air Allergies

Overview

Airborne allergies are the most common household allergic condition, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. About 80 percent of Americans are exposed to dust mites and 60 percent are exposed to pet dander. Airborne allergies are more prevalent during the springtime when pollen and mold counts are at their high. Air allergies include dust mite byproducts, cockroach byproducts, mold spores, pet dander and pollen. The most effective treatment for air allergies is minimizing exposure and managing symptoms with medication, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Cause

KidsHealth states that airborne allergens cause the immune system to overreact, starting a chain of events in the body that results in common allergy symptoms. The combination of released antibodies and histamine lead to irritation, aggravation and inflammation in various parts of the body such as the throat, lungs and skin.

Symptoms

Air allergies symptoms are asthmatic reactions, sinus congestion, sneezing and an itchy throat, according to KidsHealth. The airways can become inflamed, restricting breathing and causing you to wheeze and cough. If an asthmatic reaction results in lightheadedness or confusion, seek immediate medical attention. The sinuses become inflamed and congested, leading to sinus pain throughout the head, nasal discharge and post-nasal drip. The nose, eyes and throat feels scratchy and irritated.

Treatment

Treating airborne allergies begins with avoiding allergens, according to MayoClinilc.com. Antihistamines are used to treat airborne allergies. Antihistamines are sold OTC and work by blocking the body's ability to release histamine. Older antihistamines can cause drowsiness and should not be used while operating a vehicle or machinery. Newer antihistamines do not cause drowsiness and can be used on a daily basis for prevention and treatment. Running an air filter in the home can reduce the amount of allergens and pollutants in the air to treat airborne allergies.

Reduce Exposure

The Cleveland Clinic states that reducing exposure to airborne allergens can greatly reduce allergy symptoms. Stay indoors during springtime to avoid exposure to pollen and mold spores. Encase mattresses and pillows with dust mite resistant covers to minimize exposure to dust mites. Maintain a clean house free of mold and dust accumulation. Get rid of carpet and replace with hard surfaces such as wood or laminate. Limit pets in the home or do not own a pet if there is an allergy to animal dander.

Consideration

In severe cases, allergy shots may be an effective treatment to alleviate airborne allergy symptoms. Allergy shots are administered over a few years and attempt to desensitize the immune system to common airborne allergens.

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