Allergies seem to be a lot more common now than before, and most people will be able to name at least one person who suffers from one. They have always been common, but we know more about them nowadays. There are thousands of different types of allergy, some very rare, with varying degrees of severity. Most people will find themselves affected by one of the 5 common causes of allergies detailed below.
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5 most common causes of allergies
1. Outdoor irritants
Allergens found outdoors tend to be the most common. However, it can be almost impossible to discover the exact one affecting you without having an allergy test conducted by a specialised doctor. This is because there are so many different types of allergens – i.e., mould, grasses, pollen, etc. – so although you may think you are allergic to pollen in general, it may be that you are only affected by one specific type of it.
2. Food allergies
Food allergies have been well publicised over the last few years and can range in severity from annoying to deadly. The symptoms vary greatly and can include a rash, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, swelling in the mouth, and anaphylaxis. Obviously, the best thing to do is avoid any food that affects you if you have this allergy. Make sure to read all allergy labels on the food packaging before eating it. If you suffer from a food-related allergic reaction, doctors recommend washing up your hands and face to remove traces of the allergen. Soothing creams like hydrocortisone or taking antihistamines can help soothe milder reactions. In any case, make sure to contact your doctor immediately.
3. Domestic allergens
Your home is also a hotbed of allergens, and things such as dust mites, mould, and pet hair tend to be the main culprits. In fact, dust mites are so common that we’ve devoted a whole section to them below. Avoidance of these domestic irritants is almost impossible, so many people have to take antihistamines to help control their symptoms. However, a good home cleaning routine can help you keep these unpleasant elements at a minimum. Specialist bedding and regular upholstery cleaning can also help keep a lid on things. A good way to keep track of all the cleaning and maintenance tasks is to create a calendar and ensure all family members stick to it.
4. Drug allergies
Drug allergies are more common than you may think and can be incredibly serious. Most people will be alerted to their allergy when they develop a rash shortly after ingesting the medication, but those with a severe reaction will need immediate medical help. Avoidance is easier with this type of allergy, although you will always need to check the contents of any medication very carefully before taking it. The most common drugs people react to are sulfa, Aspirin, and Penicillin.
5. Perfumes and cosmetics
Finally, we have perfume and cosmetics, which are considered one of the biggest causes of allergies today. It tends to be the actual fragrance used in the products that are the main problem, although some people are also allergic to the other ingredients. Because the products are applied directly to the skin, symptoms appear quickly and, in some cases, severely. Special products are now available for those with this type of allergy. Still, sufferers will need to carefully inspect the list of ingredients of many other products they use in their homes daily.
Are dust mites causing your skin allergy?
A skin rash is something that most of us will experience at one time or another, but it can be a regular and painful occurrence for those suffering from a skin allergy. Many different things can cause skin allergies. Sufferers will often try and discover their particular allergen by a process of elimination, starting with the more common items such as perfumes and cosmetics. However, it is only sometimes evident as more and more people find that they are allergic to dust mites.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are microscopic entities that live in really minuscule amounts of dust and dirt. They tend to live in places where we shed the most skin, for example, in our bedding, because dead skin from both humans and animals is their favourite meal. Every home will have some lurking somewhere, as it is virtually impossible to eradicate them completely. In fact, even the cleanest property will have dust mites.
A skin allergy to dust mites is caused when the body reacts to a specific protein that they contain. Once it touches the skin, the body’s immune system identifies a threat and starts to pump out histamines, thereby creating an allergic reaction.
How to prevent dust mites’ allergic reactions?
The outbreaks can be treated with antihistamines and special creams, but as with most allergies, prevention is the best cure. So what can you do if you can’t eradicate these little blighters?
To start with, you should carry out regular upholstery cleaning for all your couches and mattresses. Use a vacuum cleaner with a special allergy filter to ensure you are not just spreading the dust mites around. You should also use the vacuum cleaner on your mattress too. The other option is to engage a cleaning company to come and do this for you regularly, as they have commercial machines that do a great job of deep cleaning. Make sure your carpets are clean all the time. Oftentimes, allergens hide in the carpet fabric and get released into the air over time.
Purchase specialist bedding that is resistant to things such as dust mites and has been specially formulated for people who suffer from allergies, which will help protect you when you sleep.
Always shower before getting into bed and wear clean nightwear each night. This will stop you from transferring dust mites from your clothing into your bed. Also, limit your pets’ time sitting and sleeping on your bed, sofa, and favourite chair.
A skin allergy can be incredibly unpleasant – especially in the beginning. The best way to find out the allergen that is affecting you is by visiting your doctor and having an allergy test, which is quick, painless, and much easier than trying to play the elimination game.
Nowadays, there is an increasing number of people suffering from allergies. In fact, it has been reported that more than half of the population in the United States alone are allergic to something or another. Although it is quite unfortunate, there are many ways to help deal with allergies, including preventive measures that you can take.