Allergies are the most underestimated and overlooked chronic diseases which often get ignored by people. But if you didn’t, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) over 50 millions of people suffer from various types of allergies every year, only in the USA alone!
In fact, the Center For Disease Control (CDC) states that the allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in US, and it costs more than $18 billion every year in medical treatments.
Although there are many different types of allergies, the most common are indoor and outdoor allergies. These allergies are also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. However, the symptoms of these two different types of allergies often tend to overlap.
To treat these types of allergies properly, you need to know how to tell them apart. Understanding what allergies are, the different types and symptoms of allergies, and how to treat them, can greatly help you to identify the source your problem, and treat it accordingly.
So what are allergies?
Allergies are nothing but your immune system reacting to a foreign substance. It is a condition caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to a substance in the environment which causes little or no problem to most of the people.
Allergies can be genetic or they can be caused by anything – sometimes something you touch, eat, inhale, or inject into your body. The resulting effect could lead to coughing, sneezing, running nose, itchy eyes and/or a scratchy throat. Hives are also a common allergic symptom. However in severe allergic attacks, it can result into low blood pressure, asthma attack and even death.
Allergies can be caused by many things, it can have a number of symptoms which are difficult to identify and it generally cannot be cured. You can try and prevent the allergic reaction from occurring by knowing exactly what you are allergic to. Or you can only treat the symptoms caused by the allergen.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ALLERGIES
One of the most common types of allergies are indoor allergies. It is generally caused by allergens present inside of your house. The main cause of indoor allergies is house dust. It is an airborne mixture which might include soil, human and animal skin particles and hair, fibers of fabric, mold spores etc.
The symptoms of indoor allergies can last all year long. It is very common to be sensitive to indoor allergens. However, people who are more likely to experience the symptoms of indoor allergies are those who are in early school or early adult years.
If you are facing some allergic reactions when you step outside the door, then you might be suffering from outdoor allergies. Outdoor allergies are caused by allergens present outside in the environment. It is another of the most common types of allergies which people suffer from.
Unlike indoor allergies, outdoor allergies are highly seasonal. This is why these types of allergies are often also referred to appropriately as seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever. The main causes of outdoor allergies are pollens and molds present in the air. The symptoms of hay fever are much less often in rainy or windless days. Since pollens spread much further out in windy, dry and hot weather, this increases the population affected as well as the prevalence symptoms from outdoor allergies.
If you start sneezing, your eyes start watering or your nose starts running after you pet or play with a cat or dog, then it’s highly likely that you are suffering from pet allergy. Pet allergies can trigger constant allergy symptoms, as you can be exposed to the allergens in any indoor and outdoor environment at any time.
You can have allergic reaction to some particular types of food. Food allergies are really common, and you really need to avoid the food you are allergic to at any cost. Food allergies can have some severe reactions including asthma attacks and may even result in death. The most common foods known to have allergic reactions are seafood like prawns, crabs etc., peanuts and dairy products.
Drug allergies are those related to someone being allergic to certain types of drugs or medications causing him/her to develop rashes, hives or other symptoms after taking certain medications. Drug allergies can potentially be fatal especially in the case of symptoms related to Anaphylaxis or Anaphylaxis shock. This is a rare but potentially life-threatening condition in which organs of your body may fail and the patient may die if immediate medical attention is not provided.
Certain types of insects or insect stings can also cause mild to severe allergic reactions. The most common insects which can cause severe allergic reactions are cockroaches, bees, wasps, hornets etc.
This type of allergy is caused by reactivity related to latex material such as latex gloves and the like. Allergic reactions to latex may be serious in some cases, though fatal reactions are very rare.
CAUSES OF INDOOR ALLERGIES
Each and every home has many potential allergens which can trigger the symptoms of indoor allergies. However, these four are the most common causes of indoor allergies.
Dust and Dust Mites:
Dust is possibly the most common cause of indoor allergies. House dust can be made of a number of things like soil, human or animal skin particles, food particles, pollen and fibers.
You can be allergic to any one or all of them, and possibly suffer from the symptoms of indoor allergies. Also dust mites thrive in dust. In many cases, when people think they are allergic to dust, they are actually sensitive to dust mites and their waste particles.
Molds are a type of fungus which reproduces through airborne spores. Although molds generally live outside, they can be found in almost any indoor setting. The molds and their spores can cause allergic reactions and trigger hay fever or asthma attacks.
People who are allergic to pets, are actually allergic to a tiny protein present in an animal’s saliva. They can also be allergic to the animal’s urine or especially Pet Dander. Dander is dead skin particles of an animal. Pet dander can even be found in homes without a pet, as it is very sticky and light. It may attach itself to hair, clothing shoes etc, which makes it to sometimes be considered an indoor allergic condition.
Cockroach related allergies:
Cockroaches can be found just about any and everywhere similar to dust. A certain protein found in cockroaches’ droppings is an allergen, and can potentially cause indoor allergies.
CAUSES OF OUTDOOR ALLERGIES
There are many particles present in the outside air which can trigger allergic reactions. Different types of pollens and molds are the lead causes of this seasonal allergy. Some of the most common triggers of outdoor allergies are:
These pollens occur from flowers which grow in the trees. They are heavily found in air during spring.
Grass pollens are most common in the summertime after flowering and other plants and trees bloom and their pollen is traversed by the wind and other agents.
Weed pollens can be found in the air both during summer and in the fall. Ragweed pollen is the leading cause of allergy symptoms during fall.
Mold and Mold Spores:
Molds are classified as a cause of both indoor and outdoor allergies. However, it mainly acts as an outdoor allergy trigger during spring.
SYMPTOMS OF INDOOR AND OUTDOOR ALLERGIES
Although indoor and outdoor allergies are two completely different types of allergies, you can experience quite a number of similar symptoms from both of these allergies. The most common symptoms of indoor and outdoor allergies are:
- A runny nose with colorless, watery secretions.
- Your eyes may start to itch.
- You can experience a scratchy feeling at the back of your throat.
- You can find yourself sneezing a lot.
- Your nose can feel stuffy and heavy.
- Heavy coughing can also be a symptom of these types of allergies.
- You can feel certain tightness in your chest.
These symptoms can occur immediately or within 8 to 12 hours, depending on the type of allergen you are allergic to. The symptoms linger for weeks if you are suffering for outdoor allergies, and may reoccur seasonally. And in case of indoor allergies, you may experience the symptoms throughout the year till you distant yourself from the allergen.
PREVENTING INDOOR ALLERGIES
Although allergies cannot be cured, you can always try to apply some preventive measures to control the environment inside your home, and protect yourself from getting exposed to the allergens. Some of the best ways by which you can prevent indoor allergies are:
Identify and Avoid indoor allergies Triggers:
The best way to prevent indoor allergies is by getting yourself tested to identify the allergens you are sensitive of. You can then avoid those allergens and make sure your home doesn’t house any of those triggers to prevent indoor allergies.
Self-care at Home:
You can use non-prescription medicines like Benadryl which can help with the itch and watery eyes caused by indoor allergens. Controlling the
Keeping your home clean, controlling your house’s humidity and minimizing contact with the allergen can prevent indoor allergies. Keep your windows closed at night, and if possible use air-conditioning, which cleans the air inside your house.
Seeking Medical Help:
You can seek medical treatments to prevent symptoms of indoor allergies through medications, allergy shots etc. You can also opt for various home remedies like nasal irrigation.
PREVENTING OUTDOOR ALLERGIES
Outdoor allergies are highly seasonal. If you get tested and identify the allergens which are causing outdoor allergic reactions to your body, you can take the following measurements to prevent outdoor allergies.
Try to stay indoors as much as you can during the season you are suffering from outdoor allergic reactions.
Use a Pollen Mask:
Using a pollen mask while you are outside. A pollen mask prevents pollens from getting inside of your nasal canal thus reducing the chance of outdoor allergies.
Taking a shower every time you come home from the outdoors makes sure that any allergen stuck in your hair or skin is washed off.
Stay Away from Outdoorsy Tasks:
During the season when you are most likely to suffer from outdoor allergies, do not take part in outdoorsy tasks like mowing lawns or raking leaves.
Keep Your Windows Closed:
When you are traveling by car, or you are at home, remember to keep your windows closed to prevent any outside allergens from getting in.
Seek Medical Help:
If you come in contact with any outdoor allergens and develop symptoms of outdoor allergies, consult your physician and take medications as prescribed to help reduce the effects.
So we hope that this simple informational and learning guide can help you easily identify and or be able to differentiate between Indoor vs Outdoor Allergies and be able to manage them effectively.