Airborne Allergies

Overview

Airborne allergies are caused by irritants in the air. The Allergy Relief Center states major illnesses and disabilities can be caused by windblown pollen from trees, grass, plants and weeds. Breathing in airborne allergens can cause a wide variety of allergic symptoms. According to The Allergy Relief Center, 40 to 50 million people suffer from airborne allergies in the United States as of 2010. Pollen grains are extremely small and light and can stay in air for hundreds of miles.

Common Airborne Allergies

According to The Allergy Relief Center, common airborne allergies are ragweed, hay fever, pine tree pollen, oak tree pollen, birch tree pollen, Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, Lantana plant, poison oak, poison ivy, mold spores and cyrysanthemum pollen.

Symptoms

Allergy Answers states the following are symptoms of airborne allergies: runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching, stuffy nose, congestion, itchy watery eyes and pressure around the eyes and sinuses. Allergy Answers suggests seeing a healthcare provider if three or more of these symptoms are present. The Allergy Relief Center lists decreased lung expansion and difficulty breathing as symptoms of airborne allergies. Airborne allergens can also cause rashes and hives when they come in contact with the skin. Roby Institute states a low-grade temperature of approximately 100 may be present. Symptoms typically get worse at night.

Treatment

Treatment options include reducing or avoiding allergens and medication. Allergy Answers states reducing exposure to known allergens is difficult and avoiding them completely is nearly impossible. Therefore, medication is usually the best remedy.

Medications

Available medications include prescription and over-the-counter products. According to Allergy Answers, first-line treatments are medications used alone to treat the allergy itself, such as antihistamines. Second-line treatments may be used alone or in combination with a first-line medication. Allergy Answers states second-line treatments relieve symptoms like runny nose or congestion. Second-line medications include decongestants and anti-allergic nasal sprays and eye drops.

Reducing Exposure

According to The Allergy Relief Center, stay indoors when pollen counts are high to reduce allergy symptoms. Keep doors and windows closed and sealed to prevent pollen and dust from entering. The Allergy Relief Center recommends installing filters in the heating and cooling system, washing clothes with an allergy removing detergent, bathing pets, removing carpets and area rugs and wearing a pollen mask when performing activities involving airborne allergens. Allergy sufferers should know which kinds of allergens affect them and implement ways to avoid reactions.