From dogs to dust, peanut butter to pollen – the potential for an allergy attack surrounds us everyday. Substances that remain harmless for many people trigger an overactive immune system for millions of others and leads to symptoms ranging from a runny nose or congestion, to wheezing, itching and swelling. While allergens are various and widespread, there are those that are more common culprits of those annoying allergy symptoms.
In particular, ragweed ranks highest in the weed allergy category. What makes this allergy so “common” is that weeds are everywhere! Every region boasts multiple varieties of weeds making these pesky plants responsible for much of the allergy misery that occurs during summer, fall and right up until the cold weather puts these weeds to sleep until the next allergy season.
Similar to weeds, your only real break from grass allergies will be in the winter, but grasses typically stir up the most allergies from late spring to early summer. And if you have a lawn to mow, this is not an easy allergen to avoid. Wearing a mask during lawn work and showering off immediately when you return indoors is a helpful precaution. Coming indoors but remaining in your same clothes can lead to transporting pollen, grass and all those outdoor allergens around your home, on your furniture and in your carpet. Better to start a load of laundry and opt for a shower and clean clothes.
Oak trees produce large amounts of pollen and are a major source of allergy symptom, but all trees produce pollen and some as early as January. Tree pollen is usually a more prevalent problem starting in early spring, but even Evergreens can be trouble. While you can choose to skip decorating with the live Christmas tree in your home this holiday season, tree pollen remains a difficult allergy to avoid outdoors. Trees can produce a large quantity of pollen and it can travel miles. Just because there are no trees in your yard, it doesn’t mean your yard is free of tree pollen.
And just when you thought all of the most common allergens could be found outside, the next two are surprisingly close, inside your home and difficult to impossible to spot with the naked eye. Mold is a microscopic allergen that can reach us all year round. It is most plentiful in warm, dark, moist environments but it can lurk in your home and environment anytime. And all the while, sending tiny spores into the air that once inhaled, can irritate the airway and cause allergic reactions. Molds act almost the same way as pollens do, except that it can continue to survive even in sub-freezing temperatures.
These tiny bugs love hanging out in carpet, mattresses, couches, soft toys, even the fur of pets. Hundreds of dust mites can live in a single gram of dust and they live and multiply easily. The protein in their waste can cause allergic reactions, so they usually cause the most allergy havoc when cooped up in a home. Just the thought of these little eight-legged critters will probably have you tackling the dust bunnies as you try to rid your environment of the five most common allergens.
This is a guest post. Susan Wright DMV is a dog expert, a vet and a freelance writer. Susan is able to share her expanded knowledge by writing articles on a variety of topics including health conditions as they relate to dogs.
Image by Stuart Miles: FreeDigitalPhotos.net