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The most Common Allergens

If you have allergies, then you know that some days it seems like you are allergic to everything you encounter. Most people, fortunately, are only allergic to a specific group of allergens. These can be either airborne or food allergens, and among these,there are a few that are the most common.

Food allergies such as milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, wheat, and soybeans are a challenge for those afflicted. Of these, milk is the most common. Airborne allergies are also a challenge, and sometimes can be even more difficult to avoid. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the allergens that top the list for the airborne variety are cigarette smoke, cockroaches, dust mites, mold, pets and animals, and, of course, pollen.

Even if you aren’t a smoker, you may have experienced some reaction to second hand smoke. It is no secret that this smoke contains toxins and irritants, which may result in watery eyes, coughing, congestion, and even shortness of breath. For those especially susceptible, or with sensitivities, an allergy reaction may even trigger an episode of asthma or bronchitis.

Few of us would have expected the lowly cockroach to be the source of an allergic reaction, however, it seems that a particular protein in their saliva and in their droppings is the culprit. This is normally a fairly easy situation to prevent by making sure that no food is left out, plugging up holes where they might enter the home, and keeping counters and floors clean.

Dust mites are one of the best known allergy producers, and unfortunately they are everywhere. They are microscopic, so you won’t see them, however, thousands of these little pest live in draperies, overstuffed furniture, carpets, and mattresses. Keeping everything as dust free as possible is one solution, as well as washing bedding frequently, and encasing mattresses and pillows in plastic cases. In extreme cases, those who are especially affected need to remove carpets and anything in the home where dust mites might hide. It is recommended that if you are allergic to dust mites, that you wear a dust mask when cleaning or vacuuming.
Mold spores also pose a problem for allergy sufferers, especially in the home. If the humidity is too high, mold can easily grow on walls and ceilings. It may also be found in basements, or even in garbage cans and in the drip tray beneath the refrigerator.

Most of us think that pet hair causes us to have an allergic reaction, however, once again, the cause is a protein. This protein, found in pet saliva and in the oil secreted and dispersed in their dander is the culprit. Unfortunately, the easiest remedy is to not have a pet in your home.

In the pollen family, ragweed, tree pollen and grasses are normally the cause of allergic reactions. It is recommended that if you suffer from these allergies, especially during the high pollen seasons, you should avoid going outside in the mornings, wear a mask when working in the yard, and keep windows and doors closed.

It is always important to identify which of the allergens you are allergic too. This can be done through testing and makes treatment much easier.