What are allergies?
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to allergence, which normally do not affect other individuals, and which can cause sneezing, coughing, and itching. They can range from bothersome to life-threatening. Some are seasonal, and some are related to chronic conditions like sinusitis and asthma.
What can I do to protect myself from allergens?
First, if you or your child are experiencing a new allergic reaction, visit your doctor or an allergist to determine what you are allergic to and how to treat your reactions.
If your allergy is to something in your home (i.e. dust, mold) you should visit our Mold and Moistureand Asthma pages to learn about prevention strategies. Household trigger often include pets, smoke, mold, and dust and dust mites.
Food allergies in children are frequently outgrown, though it is important to prevent allergic reactions by limiting their exposure to the allergen. Common food allergies include dairy, citrus, artificial colors and flavors, nuts, and shellfish. Be sure to inform their school, caregiver, and anyone else who would control their exposure to the allergen. Be sure to thoroughly read food labels and avoid ingredients that could cause a reaction.
For seasonal allergies, consult your doctor. You may be able to treat your symptoms with an over-the-counter allergy medicine, or you may require a prescription. Seasonal allergies are the most common, and often result in sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose, eyes, or mouth, red and watery eyes, postnasal drip, coughing, lethargy, and dark circles under your eyes.
If you are allergic to insect stings and bites, primarily from insects such as yellow jackets, honeybees, paper wasps, hornets, and fire ants, you can use a form of integrated pest management to rid your home of such insects. It is important to note that some of these species will only sting when provoke. Be sure to keep calm and slowly walk away if you see one.