Airborne Allergens

Those who react to airborne allergens usually have allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis. Airborne allergens include dust mites, cockroach parts, pollens, and molds:

• Dust mites These microscopic creatures are one of the most common causes of allergies and are present year-round in most parts of the country, although they do not live at high altitudes. Dust mites live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.

• Cockroaches The body parts and waste products of these insects are also a major household allergen, especially in inner cities. Asthma rates of inner city children are high, probably due to cockroach exposure in overcrowded buildings.

• Pollen Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Most people know pollen allergy as hay fever or rose fever. Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen a child is allergic to determines when he will be symptomatic. For example, in the mid-Atlantic states, tree pollination begins in February and March, grass from May through June, and ragweed from August through October. Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air. Pollen counts are usually higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days; they are lowest when it is chilly and wet. Although they are not exact, the local weather report's pollen count can be helpful when planning outside activities.

• Molds These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments. As with pollen, mold spores are released into the air to reproduce. Outdoors, molds may be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles; indoors they thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places, such as bathrooms and closets. Mold buildup may be found in damp basements or basements with water leaks. A musty odor suggests mold growth. Although molds can be seasonal, many thrive year-round, especially those indoors.

Allergy Relief

Allergy Relief

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