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Allergy Triggers

Dander--tiny particles shed from all animals with hair or feathers--is a common allergen for many people. Animal dander are proteins secreted by the glands in the skin but they are also found in animal urine and saliva. The most common animal sources of allergens are: cats, dogs, pet birds, rabbits, and rodents.

Symptoms: runny eyes and nose, itchy throat and nose, sneezing, nasal and sinus congestion, and asthma symptoms (wheezing, coughing).

Don't hang your clothes outside to dry, as pollen and molds may collect in the fabric and make your allergies worse.

Pollen from flowers enters the nose, eyes and lungs, triggering symptoms.

Symptoms: runny eyes and nose, itchy throat and nose, sneezing, nasal and sinus congestion, and asthma symptoms (wheezing, coughing).

Common food allergies include milk, eggs and peanuts.

Symptoms: tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of tongue and throat, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure and, in rare cases, loss of consciousness.

Mowing lawns stirs up pollen and molds, so avoid this activity. And avoid being around freshly cut grass whenever possible.

Raking leaves stirs up molds and should be avoided. Ask other family members to help out around the yard.

Stinging Insects
Insect stings cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms: swelling of the whole arm or leg, or hives; in severe reactions, insect stings can cause swelling beyond the local area, itching all over the body or difficulty breathing.

Changes in temperature or humidity may trigger allergy-related asthma for some people. Try staying indoors during humid and windy days when dust and pollen are blown about.

Symptoms: frequent cough (especially at night), shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, inability to catch your breath, tightened neck and chest muscles. Symptoms are often minimal on rainy, cloudy or windless days. Pollen counts tend to be low during these days because it does not move about with these conditions. Hot, dry and windy weather means more pollen and mold in the air which increases allergy symptoms.

What time is it? Outdoor pollen counts are usually highest in the late morning and early afternoon.

Seasonal hay fever occurs during the times of year when particular trees or plants produce pollen.

Grass pollen is produced March to October depending on where you live. Ragweed pollen is produced mostly from July to November depending on where you live. Tree pollen is produced January to June depending on where you live. Weed pollen is produced from April to November.

Symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, congestion and itchy or watery eyes.

The weather influences hay fever symptoms. Hot, dry, and windy weather signals greater pollen and mold movement and increased allergy symptoms. If you're allergic to pollen, try to stay indoors on windy days when pollen counts are high. An allergy to mold isn't related to the season but is affected by weather conditions such as wind, rain, and temperature.