Are you one of them?
Many allergies go undiagnosed because some people assume they have a cold, so they don’t go see their doctor. Or, worse yet, they self-diagnose themselves and start trying to fix issues they may not even have.
There are many substances that can cause an allergic reaction. Do you know the difference between airborne vs. contact allergies?
If not, keep reading to find out more about them.
Allergies of all types can range from mild to severe to possibly life-threatening. So learning about allergies and their symptoms is important.
Sometimes figuring out what you are allergic to can be easy or it can be problematic. This is, in part, because allergic reactions can develop over time or not even appear for a day or two after exposure. This can also result in the allergic response getting blamed on something else.
Sometimes your symptoms can help lead you towards the culprit.
The most common types of allergies are airborne. Airborne allergies tend to show themselves by affecting our eyes and nose. Our eyes can itch, water or become swollen. Our noses can be itchy, become runny, or get stuffed up.
Some of the airborne allergies are caused by exposure to animal dander, mold, fungus, pollen, dust mites, steam from cooking foods, and more. Because there are so many possibilities for what can cause airborne allergy symptoms, having a doctor test you to determine what you are allergic to is the best way to start reducing your symptoms.
If you are allergic to pollen (tree, ragweed or grass), you’ll want to limit your exposure to outside air, especially during times when the pollen counts are high. When they are elevated, stay inside with your windows and doors closed. Don’t use window fans or hang your laundry out to dry.
For mold allergies, be sure to remove any mold you can find in your house. Look in your bathroom and under your kitchen sink.
Diligently fix water leaks and remove any mold from past leaks. Check behind furniture that is placed against an interior wall around the perimeter of your house, especially areas that have grass or plants outside that get watered often.
To reduce dust mite allergy symptoms, use allergy-resistant mattress covers on your bedding and pillows and wash your bedding once a week. Not having carpeted flooring is the best option for your bedroom, but if you can’t remove the carpeting, then vacuum daily.
If you are allergic to a pet that resides in your house, don’t let it into your bedroom and keep it off your upholstered furniture.
Using an air purifier with a HEPA filter is best for treating airborne allergies. Bathing or showering after spending time outside during high pollen counts is also recommended.
Contact allergy symptoms occur when you are exposed to allergens that you are sensitive to or allergic to. The exposure can be by physically touching or ingesting the allergen.
Contact dermatitis will cause your skin to show signs of distress. Your skin may become itchy or feel burned, you can develop hives or a rash, or your skin can turn red, blistery or dry and scaly.
Some of the more common things that cause contact allergy symptoms are exposure to poison oak or poison ivy, latex bandages or gloves, preservatives, skincare products, and some metals. Some people are allergic to antibiotics and other medications.
Limiting your exposure to contact allergens requires that you first know what you are allergic to. Unless you get exposed to the allergen, it is hard to know what to steer clear from.
A doctor can test you for various common allergens by performing a patch test. Patch tests expose you to low quantities of substances, then your doctor checks your skin to see if you develop a rash or show any other signs of distress.
The best defense against contact allergens is to stay away from them. So to keep yourself safer from other possible contact allergens, you can use non-latex gloves when dealing with harsh chemicals like detergents, soaps, and other cleaning products.
Unlike food allergies and some spider bites which can cause anaphylactic shock, contact dermatitis is rarely life-threatening. But under certain circumstances, it does need to be seen by a doctor.
Skin rashes and blisters need to be monitored closely. Rashes that continue to spread, cause you severe pain, or appear on your face or genitals need to be seen by a doctor.
If you are running a fever or your blister has popped and is runny with colored fluid, you’ll also need to seek medical advice. Fever or fluid that isn’t clear is likely a sign you have an infection.
Now that you know a bit more about the differences between airborne vs. contact allergies, you have a better idea of what to look out for and when to see a doctor.
But even if your symptoms are mild, there is no reason to suffer or feel like you’re sick. Take proactive action and find out exactly what you’re allergic to so you can take the best precautions to limit your symptoms in the first place.
If you have allergies or need to determine if you do, please contact us today for a free consultation.