The Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center Pollen and Mold Counter will return February 15, 2022.
An allergen is anything that triggers an allergic reaction. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) defines an allergy as “a chronic condition involving an
abnormal reaction to an ordinary harmless substance called an allergen.” The most common allergens are food, pollen, mold and dust mites. If you have a food allergy, you might be allergic to the proteins found in foods like fish, nuts, wheat, soy, eggs and milk. With a pollen allergy, perhaps only grass or tree weed pollens trigger your allergic reaction.
Allergies can begin at any time in a person’s life, from childhood to adulthood and all the years in between. The development of allergies starts in a person’s immune system. The immune
system views the allergen as a foreign invader and works to drive it out. This can lead to allergy symptoms like eye tearing, a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes,
throat, mouth and nose. Food allergies often have different symptoms. These include hives, respiratory issues, diarrhea, vomiting and more. There’s also a risk of anaphylaxis, a serious allergy side effect that requires immediate treatment, as it can be fatal.
Mold is a type of fungus, with more than 1,000 United States species according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). Not all mold is easily spotted. The spores can become airborne, being inhaled by you and other family members without anyone realizing it. While it’s dangerous to have mold in the home, if you have a mold allergy, it becomes even worse. The AAAAI says it’s possible to develop asthma as well from too much mold. With a mold allergy, you might have symptoms like an itchy throat, wheezing and coughing, sore eyes, sneezing and a runny nose. You may also experience nasal congestion.
Mold is a naturally-occurring fungus that can grow both inside and outside. It’s not limited to homes and can develop on any building or surface in which there’s the right conditions. Mold likes to grow in wet and warm environments. If you have poor air quality at home or leave food lying around, mold is also likely to grow.
If you have mold around the home, the best way to control your allergies to this fungus is by removing it. Here are our best mold removal and management tips:
Dust includes tiny particles that can accumulate with time. It attracts dust mites, which are naturally-occurring organisms that can rarely been seen. If you have an allergy to dust mites, then combating and controlling dust is especially important. Dust mites prefer a dark, warm and humid climate. They feed on shed human skin so will be found in high numbers in upholstered furniture, carpets, mattresses and pillows. The ACAAI says many people get dust mite allergies, so you are far from alone if you’re in the same camp.
Unfortunately, since dust can be present anywhere, anytime, these allergies don’t abate from season to season. Also bad is that conditions like eczema and asthma can get worse if you have a dust mite allergy. Dust mite are not the only allergic trigger in dust. Feathers, fur or pet dander can also lead to symptoms, as can pollen, mold and cockroaches. If you have an allergy to dust, you’ll experience itchiness, shortness of breath, chest tightening, coughing and wheezing and itchy, red eyes. You may also have a stuffy or runny nose as well as sneezing.
Dust can form from pollution, volcanic eruptions, wind or soil. Depending on where it comes from, the small particles can be comprised of tiny meteorite pieces, human skin cells, outdoor soil minerals, paper fibers, textile fibers, animal and plant pollen. While dust can linger around many surfaces, we people rarely notice until an accumulate develops. Dust is often grayish when enough builds up. By leaving surfaces untouched and uncleaned, dust will gather and spread.
Being diligent about removing dust isn’t the easiest job, but if you’re someone with a dust mite allergy, it’s worth it. Here are some of our top tips:
Pollen is a type of powder, often yellow in color. It is light and is able to be carried long distances by the wind. Animals, insects, and birds will also help to carry it across plants and flowers. This is a good thing, as pollen it is a part of plant reproduction. Well, it’s a good thing unless you have allergies.
One of the most widespread allergens, pollen is responsible for the allergies of millions and millions of people in America, especially when pollen counts are high. As we mentioned earlier,
there’s weed, grass and tree pollens. You could be allergic to just one or even all three.
If you do have pollen allergies, you may have symptoms like wheezing, itchy eyes and throat, watery eyes, a runny nose, congestion and sneezing. According to the ACAAI, asthma can be exacerbated by pollen allergies. If you’re wheezing and coughing more than usual, it may be due to a pollen allergy.
Pollen is the male fertilizing agent of flowers, plants, trees, grass and weeds. Plants and flowers are likely to have lots of pollen that was deposited there by animals and the wind, specially on dry days. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring pollen inside. If this powder settles on your skin, hair or clothing, you’ll track the allergen indoors. Symptoms can continue until you hang your clothes or shower. Pollen from bright flowers is usually sticky and is designed to be carried by insects so is not found in high amounts floating in the air.
A pollen allergy might be incredibly common, but it should still be taken seriously. Here’s how to control pollen in and around your home:
In addition to the tips we’ve suggested, you should try these methods for removing allergens:
If you’re having allergies out of the blue, this can be a very confusing time. You may be struggling to understand why your allergies appeared when a month or so ago you were fine.
Suffering with allergies, especially severe ones, can degrade your quality of life. If you’re sick all the time but you don’t know why, we recommend you contact an allergist and schedule an
At Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center, we have more than 50 years of expertise diagnosing and managing allergy symptoms. Those in the Charlotte area and beyond trust us with their asthma, insect allergies, drug allergies, food allergies and so much more. Whether you need allergy testing, an official diagnosis or a management/treatment plan, we can help. Schedule an appointment today.
Please note: Due to healthcare privacy laws, we cannot answer any questions pertaining to personal health information by e-mail.