What is an Allergy?
An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to an inappropriate stimulus. Some of the most common stimuli include dust, pollen, grass, pet dander, and mold. The immune system believes it is being invaded by a parasite rather than a harmless allergen in the environment. As a result of this, the immune system rallies its defenses to fight off the enemy. You do not have to suffer with your allergy symptoms on your own! If you call southern Arizona home, including Vail, Rita Ranch, Tucson, Sierra Vista, or surrounding areas, get in touch with us today.
The list of possible allergy symptoms in Rita Ranch is longer than you might think. Primary signs of allergies include:
- Runny or congested nose
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Frequent ear infections
- Sinus headaches
- Nasal polyps
- Conjunctivitis (eye irritation)
- Muscle/joint pain
- Skin rashes and eczema
- Mental problems such as confusion, slow thinking, depression, and forgetfulness
- Respiratory issues including endless colds, chronic cough, and recurrent bronchitis
Of course, there are many possible reasons for these symptoms. The only way to know if they are caused by allergies is to take an allergy test. AllerVision offers a pain-free skin test that provides answers in just 15 minutes. Any AllerVision-affiliated medical clinic will have the ability to perform the test and read the results on the spot.
There are many items in the environment that could cause your allergies. They fall into four general categories:
- Animal dander — from dogs, cats, and cockroaches
- Mold and mildew
- Dust mites
- Pollen — from trees, grass, and weeds
Animal Dander (Year-round)
Contrary to popular belief, it is not animal fur that causes allergies. There is actually a protein in animals’ saliva that is to blame. When animals lick themselves, the protein attaches to the fur and that is when it becomes a problem. After this, animals shed and their fur sticks in carpeting, upholstery, and other places where it can stay for months.
The same protein found in saliva is also present in animals’ urine. Therefore, gerbils, hamsters, and other small caged animals could cause problems for allergy-prone individuals.
Pets are not the only problem. Cockroaches, common to tropical areas, also contribute large allergen particles to the space around us. Proteins in their saliva and feces become airborne easily and circulate through the air without your knowledge.
Mold and Mildew (Year-round, Especially Bad in Rainy Seasons)
Simply put, mold is bad. It is so bad that exposure sometimes seriously affects non-allergic people. Mold reproduces when airborne spores land on wet surfaces, so any room with moisture is vulnerable, especially those that don’t dry thoroughly. Some of the most vulnerable surfaces include bathroom counters, showers, bathtubs, and refrigerator drip trays. Also, plumbing leaks can cause major problems to your home and your health if they are not fixed immediately.
Dust Mites (Year-round)
These microscopic creatures can create big allergy problems. As dust mites float through the air or reproduce in carpeting, upholstery and bedding, the protein in their droppings pollutes the environment and causes perennial problems for many allergy sufferers. Vacuuming, dusting with a damp cloth, and washing sheets regularly can help but, unfortunately, dust mites are hard to completely avoid.
Have you ever rolled in the grass and then started itching? It’s allergies. The worst offenders are Bermuda, Johnson, Kentucky bluegrass, Orchard, Sweet vernal, and Timothy grasses. When lawn mowers cut them, the pollen starts flying. Keep in mind that pollen can stow away on your clothes and on your pets, so it is important to vacuum and shower frequently.
Tree pollen is another big troublemaker, and these varieties are especially to blame: sycamore, hickory, walnut, pecan, poplar, cottonwood, box elder, red maple, silver maple, willow, ash, date palm, and Phoenix palm trees. Some people have cross-reactions to alder, beech, birch, oak, juniper, and cedar families as well. Removing these trees from your garden may be of little help to allergies. That is because tree pollen can travel up to 50 miles on a strong wind.
Weeds are not only the bane of existence to gardeners, but also allergy sufferers, as they are regular pollen factories. Ragweed is the worst offender, as one plant can release 1 million grains of pollen each day. Other troublemakers are sagebrush, redroot, pigweed, lamb’s quarters, Russian thistle (tumbleweed), and English plantain.