Allergies are one of the most common health issues, affecting more than 50 million Americans each year. Allergic reactions can be triggered by dust and pollen in the air, the foods we eat, or exposure to certain chemical substances.
What Causes Allergies?
When you breathe in, swallow or touch something you’re allergic to, your immune system reacts to this normally harmless substance as if it was an invader. This process is called an allergic reaction, and the substances that can activate allergies are called allergens. Your body’s defensive response to dust, pollen, pet dandruff or certain chemicals produces allergy symptoms.
Types of Allergies
The major allergy triggers are seasonal dust and pollen and certain foods.
About 7.8 percent of American adults have hay fever, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
If you have these kinds of allergies, you know they flare up when you are exposed to mold spores or pollen from grass, trees or ragweed. Seasonal allergies tend to worsen from spring until fall and may subside in the winter.
Signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies
Seasonal allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe and may vary depending on the specific allergen. They typically involve irritated airways, nasal passages and sinuses, resulting in:
- itchy, red, watery eyes
- stuffy, runny nose
Severe seasonal allergies can lead to red, watery eyes or sinus infections. million Americans each year. Allergic reactions can be triggered by dust and pollen in the air, the foods we eat, or exposure to certain chemical substances.