Environmental allergies occur year-round and not just during certain seasons.
Where seasonal allergies have a higher occurrence during certain seasons of the year, environmental allergies can be more prevalent through internal or external conditions or changes in the weather, temperature, humidity, dampness, moisture, cleanliness and other such factors.
These conditions or changes may lead to a higher occurrence for certain allergen containing substances, which may lead to a person with certain allergies having mild to severe allergic reactions.
The most common environmental allergens that cause reactions are-
Dust mites are one of the most common indoor environmental allergens. Classified as arthropods they can live all year long in warm, humid places such as soft furnishings in your home such as; mattresses, drapes and furnished couches.
They also aren't usually airborne and only become airborne during dust raising activities such as house cleaning.
A Pollen allergy is when there is an immune response to grasses, flowers, weeds or trees. A Pollen allergy commonly triggers Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever) and also may aggravate Asthma (for people with pre-existing conditions).
A Pollen allergy can occur all year-round, however is also a seasonal allergy that can have a higher occurrence during certain seasons such as spring and summer.
A Pollen allergy can also have increased symptoms based on the type of pollen the person is allergic to and based on where they live.
A Mould allergy reaction occurs when mould is inhaled or ingested. Damp walls, cellars, bathrooms, basements, attics, washing machines, rubbish bins, stale foods and humidifiers are just some of the many places where mould may develop and be found.
In everyday life it is quite common to be exposed to mould and people can generally notice the signs, for example it can be noticed by fuzzy green spots on food or dark markers on a wall corner in a dark place.
Pet/Animal Allergies are quite common, especially from Dogs and Cats.
A reaction occurs when contact is made from the dander, saliva or urine/feces, which can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as allergic rhinitis or even aggravate asthma symptoms (for people with pre-existing conditions).
An insect allergy can be caused through stings, bites and debris.
Insect allergies can lead to mild to severe and life-threatening reactions. However, not all reactions are allergic and may just cause irritation of the skin.
The symptoms of environmental allergic reactions vary based on the type of allergy and also the individual. Some common symptoms may be characterised by:
- Rashes and scratching
- Watery eyes
- Mucous in throat
- Allergic rhinitis
- ‘Allergic salute’ (in a child, persistent upward rubbing of the nose that causes a crease mark on the nose)
- Postnasal drip
- Asthma Aggravation
The validity and severity of these symptoms are dependent on the individual and the level of exposure, as determined by a qualified health care provider.
If you experience or are in the presence of someone that encounters an immediate serious reaction (this may include difficulty breathing, wheezing, throat tightening, swelling, collapse, etc), call or have someone call triple zero (000) immediately.
In the case of a minor allergic reaction, people may use Antihistamines, Decongestants, along with other medications based on their individual symptoms and prescribed treatments.
For severe allergic reactions Epinephrine may be used, followed by seeking emergency medical attention. However, some people may not be able to use Epinephrine due to particular reasons.
Provided through qualified healthcare providers, Immunotherapy or "desensitisation" is a treatment option conducted for Allergen-specific desensitisation. In some instances, it may make a person less allergic or more tolerant to the substance they are allergic to. Immunotherapy isn't a cure and usually doesn't make the symptoms disappear entirely, but it has been shown to reduce the symptoms. Speak to a qualified healthcare provider to learn more.
It’s important for anyone with an Allergy, to discuss treatments with a qualified health care provider to understand how to manage individual allergies and also to set up an Allergy Action Plan in the case of a reaction.
Always present your Allergy Card, Medical Alert Bracelet or Necklace to ensure health care providers, family members, friends, colleagues and others are aware of your Allergy or Allergies
It is always important to be aware of when there is an Allergy Risk Situation (ARS) arising in the environment, and how to avoid it (and avoid a reaction).
The steps you can take include setting up your contingency plans to be prepared in the case of a reaction (contact triangle, medication, etc), having an action plan, carrying an Allergy Card so people around you know about it, and any other steps to protect yourself from having a reaction.
And whatever your reason for reading this insight, whether it is for you or a loved one, it's important to consult your local health care provider for more information on allergic reactions, triggers, diagnosis, examination, treatment and management strategies. Plus, they will be able to set up an individual Allergy Action Plan based on managing your environmental allergies.
The information provided on Allergy Life Australia is to generally educate and inform you about living with allergies, intolerances and conditions, and is not intended as medical instruction or as a substitute for diagnosis, examination and advice by a qualified health care provider.
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