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A look at some of the most common allergens

Common triggers such as dust mites, pet dander and pollen can cause mild to severe reactions in people who are allergic to them.

If you’re one of the 55 percent of the U.S. population who tests positive for one or more allergies, you know how frustrating it can be to keep your symptoms under control. According to health and medical information website MedicineNet​, allergies are “an abnormal response of the immune system where the body’s defenses react to a usually harmless substance in the environment, such as pollen, animal dander or food.” Allergic reactions can range from mild to life-threatening, so it’s important to understand exactly which kind of allergen your body is responding to and have a plan in place for if you have a severe attack.

In this series of posts, we’ll take a look at some of the most common allergens. This way, you and your loved ones who might not understand just how badly your allergies affect you can have a better grasp on what these triggers are and how to prevent negative reactions.

Some common allergens are:

Dust mites - These tiny creatures can cause a lot of discomfort in those who are allergic to them. Thriving in areas of high humidity, dust mites cause reactions such as red, itchy, watery eyes; a runny, itchy, stuffy nose and sneezing.

Pet dander - This is the dead skin that is shed by house pets like dogs and cats, as well as other animals. Additionally, proteins secreted by the animals’ oil glands can also cause an allergic reaction.

Pollen - This particular trigger is at its worst during the spring, summer and fall when people are more exposed to the microscopic male cells of flowering plants that make up pollen. Reactions to this allergen include sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy throat and coughing.

It’s hard to avoid these common allergens, but fortunately there are ways to co-exist with them. In addition to seeing a doctor, you can purchase a whole house air purifier, which removes many of these allergens directly from the air. It’s also a good idea to clean your home with a HEPA vacuum, a product that tackles more dust, dirt and pet dander than other vacuums.

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