10 things that worsen your seasonal allergies
It’s not just the seasonal triggers that make your nose run and your eyes water. Dr. Uma Gavani, an allergy and immunology specialist with Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., outlines ten everyday items that can worsen your allergy symptoms.
- Alcohol and happy hour snacks
Histamine, the same chemical your body releases when you react to pollen or pet dander, causes headaches and can also make allergies worse. It is often found in fermented drinks like wine (especially red) and beer. Sauerkraut, smoked meats and cheeses like Swiss and Gouda can also worsen allergies.
There really is nothing good about cigarette smoke, first-hand or second-hand. In addition to causing a myriad of other health issues, cigarettes can also make seasonal allergies worse because the chemicals in cigarettes – as well as the smoke – irritate the mucus membranes.
Fragrances found in candles, perfumes and cleaning/laundry supplies can trigger headaches and worsen allergy symptoms in some people. From eye and nose irritation to red, itchy bumps on your skin, allergy symptoms from these products are triggered by smell or touch. Try unscented or organic products, and ask your friends and colleagues to skip the perfume or after-shave.
People with allergies are often very sensitive to this chemical. Frequent contact with chlorine can trigger allergies by irritating the respiratory tract. Chlorine can also irritate the skin and make eczema worse.
- House plants
Indoor plants and the soil they are in collect mold and dust and release pollen, all of which can set off allergy symptoms. Indoor plants known to trigger allergies include Ficus, yucca, ivy and palm trees. Limit the number of plants in your home and keep any plants you do have in well-ventilated areas. Wipe the leaves periodically to prevent and remove mold. Also, remove any dead leaves, as they can grow mold and cause a flare-up of symptoms.
- Fruits and vegetables
Carrots, apples, oranges, celery, kiwi, peaches, tomatoes, zucchini and melon are just a few of the fruits and vegetables that contribute to a condition known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS). OAS is the most common food-related allergy in adults caused by eating certain raw fruits and vegetables as well as nuts.
If you notice your skin breaking out in a rash or hives and you have recently switched your laundry products, you are likely sensitive to chemicals in the products. Or, you could be sensitive to a dye or chemical in the fabric of your clothing. Some people are even sensitive to the metal in zippers and buckles. These sensitivities cause a skin condition called contact dermatitis, preventable by determining and avoiding the irritants.
- Contact Lenses
Pollen can get trapped between the lenses and your eyes. Try disposable contact lenses or wear your glasses during allergy season.
- Fido and Fluffy
While 15 percent of people are simply allergic to animals, others who are not allergic to their pets may be bothered by them when their seasonal allergies are bad. It happens because of the “the priming effect”. If someone is congested from pollen, pet dander can make it worse by irritation.
About the Author
Kate Eller was a regional director of public affairs and marketing operations for Advocate Health Care. She enjoys road trips, dogs, minimalism, yoga, hiking, and “urban hiking.”