Molds... yuck! A fungus -- that's disgusting, right? And what does mold have to do with nasal allergies and asthma? The answer to that question is, "Quite a lot, actually." Both indoor and outdoor molds are common allergy triggers, resulting in the following symptoms: Stuffy nose/head Runny nose/post-nasal drip Sneezing Itchy nose and/or throat Itchy, watery, burning, red eyes So, What ARE Molds Exactly? Molds, or more correctly, mold spores are tiny fungi that are widespread in most homes. This isn't the type of mold that strikes fear into our hearts with images of severe illness and death. That type of mold is usually referred to as "black mold" (and is known scientifically as stachybotrys chartarum ). It is found in 2% to 5% of American homes. Under certain environmental conditions, stachybotrys chartarum may produce several toxic chemicals called mycotoxins, but there is currently no evidence that the small airborne levels found in residential settings...
So, I left my office for a stroll in the summer sunshine, to breathe in some fresh air and stretch my legs and within five minutes my nose was stuffed, my mouth, tongue and lips were itchy and the insides of my ears were itchy too.
What was going on?
As of August 12th, here in New York, I was an itchy-mouth mess all due to an allergy to ragweed.
What is an allergy? Just to recap: allergies are an overreaction of a person's immune system to substances that normally cause no problems. These allergenic substances can cause allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, urticaria, dermatitis and even anaphylaxis.
What is ragweed? Dr. James Thompson on this site has written an excellent post all about ragweed allergy and managing it during the fall season .
For those of you wondering just what the deal is, according to Wikipedia: [Ragweed] is highly allergenic, generally considered the greatest allergen of all pollens, and the prime cause of hay fever in North Ame...
The best way to keep your allergy symptoms in check is to minimize your contact with the things that trigger them. Typically, allergy triggers include:
Pollen from grass, trees, and weeds
Animal dander from furry and feathered pets
Mold spores, both indoor and outdoor varieties
Let's take a look at some of the main ways you can avoid allergy triggers.
Pollen triggers. Pollen is a tiny egg-shaped particle from flowering plants. All plants have pollen, but only pollen from certain trees, grasses and weeds trigger allergies. Their pollen tends to be small, light, and dry, so winds can spread it far and wide. The heavier, waxier pollens found on roses and other flowers is not spread as easily and is less likely to cause allergy symptoms.
To avoid pollen, the best bet is to stay indoors during hot, dry, windy days in the spring, summer and fall, especially in the early morning, when pollen counts tend to be highest. Keep your windows closed and t...
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