What Causes Allergies?

An allergic reaction is your immune system defensively responding to a foreign substances in the body. Your body produces antibodies to fight off the intruding substance(s), which trigger the production of a chemical known as histamine. When the body produces an excess amount of histamine the allergy or asthma symptoms surface. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include itchy and/or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and coughing.

The term allergen refers to any substance that can trigger an allergic response. Common indoor allergens include pollen, animal dander and house dust mite waste. Common outdoor allergens include weeds, grasses, plant and tree pollen and ragweed.

House dust is a mixture of many substances. Its content varies from home to home. A speck of dust may contain fabric fibers, human skin particles, animal dander, microscopic creatures called dust mites, parts of cockroaches, food particles and other debris. Of these, house dust mite waste is the most common culprit to cause an allergy and asthma reaction.

Dust mites are microscopic arachnids that you cannot see without using a microscope. They feed on skin flakes and thrive in warm, humid or damp conditions. They can be found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bed covers, clothes, stuffed toys, and fabric or other fabric-covered items.

Dust mites are invisible to the naked eye. Even in the cleanest of homes, mites can inhabit mattresses, pillows, blankets, quilts, carpets and fabric-covered furniture. They thrive in warm, humid or damp conditions and live on a diet of skin cells which we shed daily.

Dust… dander… pollen… particles shed by your pets. You’ll find plenty of allergens in your home, but the most important are allergens from the dust mite and its fecal pellets.

Up to 30% of all people have allergic symptoms, with the majority being triggered by the house dust mite. Also, skin tests have shown that up to 80% of asthmatics react to the house dust mite.

The most common symptoms include: sneezing… itchy eyes… itchy palate… runny, blocked or itchy nose… night-time cough… wheezing… these symptoms may occur year-round and can occur inside or outside the home.

The symptoms listed above are common and vary depending on the person and the particular allergen. Keep in mind that each person has his or her own threshold to the amount of allergen they can tolerate before symptoms start to occur. A person can also develop an allergy later in life or stop having an allergy as they age.

Allergies cause you to sneeze repeatedly, cause your eyes and nose to be itchy, and continue on for long periods of time. Colds usually have body aches and cough associated with them and go away in about a week.

Dust mite allergies are not caused by the dust mite themselves but to the fecal matter. By just eliminating the dust mite you will not prevent your allergy symptoms from occurring. You must treat the allergen with neutralizing agents or water that is hotter than 130° Fahrenheit.

People who suffer from pet allergies are not allergic to the animals fur as most believe. Their allergic reactions are actually caused from the proteins found in the animal’s dander, urine, and saliva. Reactions to pet allergens can occur immediately or build up and surface up to 12 hours after a person’s initial exposure. Also, allergens from animals can cause asthma and an allergy symptom for several months after the animal has been removed from the home.