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Common Allergy Questions - Allergy FAQ

Updated on June 18, 2011

Allergy Symptoms

Millions of Americans alone suffer from allergies. It is estimated that over half of Americans are allergic to at least one substance. An allergy causes a person to have an extreme sensitivity to a specific substance, called an allergen. The results can cause an allergy reaction such as hives, sneezing, watery eyes, and other allergy symptoms. A severe allergy reaction can even cause death.

Pollen dust so common in the spring causes seasonal allergies suffering for many. photo: Brooke Novak
Pollen dust so common in the spring causes seasonal allergies suffering for many. photo: Brooke Novak

Allergy or Cold - Allergy vs Cold Symptoms

Do I have an allergy or cold? Explain allergy vs cold symptoms. What is the difference between a cold and seasonal allergy symptoms?

Seasonal allergies happen during specific periods of the year, usually during pollen allergy season in the spring. But those suffering from other types of seasonal allergies may have allergy symptoms in the summer or fall. A cold will should go away in two weeks at the longest, and usually only lasts about a week. Colds occur at any time of the year, but are most common in cold weather.

What are the most common types of allergies?

Some of the most common allergies are dander, latex, mold, pollen, latex, dust mites, and penicillin. Some of the most common food allergies include eggs, seafood, milk, peanuts, and wheat.

Dust mites - most common allergy Photo: Time Magazine, Ethan Hein
Dust mites - most common allergy Photo: Time Magazine, Ethan Hein

Video About Dust Mites - The Most Common Allergy

Dust Mites Allergy - Most Common Allergies

I am allergic to dust. I keep my house spotless, but I still seem to have allergy symptoms. Could I still have dust mites?
Well, even the cleanest homes will still have dust, especially older houses, if you keep your windows open, or if you live in areas more prone to dust, such as the desert. Plus, you may be suffering more from an allergic reaction to dust mites than dust itself. More people suffer from dust mite allergies than any other type of allergy.

You can help eliminate dust and dust mites by removing cloth curtains, upholstered furniture and carpet. All of these will contribute to dust allergies. No matter how often you clean and vacuum, you can never get rid of dust completely. But eliminating these items from your home can provide lots of dust allergy relief.

Allergies and Genetics

Are humans born with allergies? Also, is it possible to develop allergies as one gets older?
While humans are usually born with allergic reactions, they often develop allergies later.

Allergies and Kids

Can children outgrow allergies?
This basically depends on the type of allergy, really. A lot of kids do outgrow allergies to certain foods, the most common ones being eggs, corn, milk, and soybeans. But other childhood food allergies tend to stick with a person for life. Some of these include seafood and peanut allergies.

Allergy Cures

Can allergies be cured?
No, unfortunately. You can still find relief from allergies. Depending on what you are allergic to, you can find relief in different ways, such as avoiding allergy triggers, using otc allergy medicine, or if allergy symptoms are bad enough, taking prescription medications or getting allergy shots.

May flowers often means seasonal allergies to many. photo: monkeyleader @flickr
May flowers often means seasonal allergies to many. photo: monkeyleader @flickr

Suffering From Allergy Symptoms - Relocate?

Should I move to a different region, one with less trees, for example, to reduce my seasonal allergy symptoms to pollen, etc.?
No, this is a somewhat drastic step to seek allergy relief. The reason it's not recommended it because those who have seasonal allergies, such as pollen. are often allergic to other environmental allergens. Moving may help give relief to pollen allergy symptoms, only to be replaced with another allergy.

I know this from experience. I moved from the eastern region of the United States , filled with trees and pollen, out to the southwestern desert. I suffered much more from being allergic to dust than I ever did with my spring pollen allergies.

Allergy Medication During Pregnancy and Allergy Medicine While Breastfeeding

Can I use allergy medicine during pregnancy? What about allergy medicine while breastfeeding?

Definitely ask your doctor about this, as there is no cut and dried answer. The answer will probably depend on the allergy medication itself, the severity of your allergies, if you have had any pregnancy problems, etc.

The general consensus is to avoid any unnecessary medications during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is when your infant is developing major organs. Usually after the first trimester, it is considered okay to take most medications that would be safe for young children as well. This is the same advice to use for taking medicine while breastfeeding as well.

Again, ask your obstetrician or midwife about allergy medicine during pregnancy. This holds true for any OTC medicine, vitamins, or herbs that you wish to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Allergy shots during pregnancy? photo: Burnt Pixel @flickr
Allergy shots during pregnancy? photo: Burnt Pixel @flickr

Allergy Shots During Pregnancy

How safe are allergy shots during pregnancy?
Generally, maintenance doses of allergy shots should be safe during pregnancy. In other words, allergy shots during pregnancy should be safe if you have not just recently started taking them. This is because it is most common for a person to experience a bad reaction to allergy injections when they first start getting them. After immunity is built up with the shots, a reaction is much less likely to occur.

However, if a pregnant woman does experience a reaction to an allergy shot while pregnant, it could very well harm the baby. Whether you continue allergy shots while pregnant is up to you and your obstetrician. Be sure to discuss this with him or her when you first find out that you are pregnant. Careful monitoring is required if you continue the allergy shots during pregnancy.

Common Allergy Questions - Allergy FAQ Comments

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    • redwriterbb profile image

      redwriterbb 7 years ago from Norfolk/Virginia Beach Area

      Allergy shots changed my quality of life. It is very difficult to find a good allergist. Ask around. Word of mouth and success stories are very important.

      My allergist's patients come from cities far away because he is good.

      Thank you for the suggestion that moving is drastic. I always think maybe I'm

      in the wrong place, but there are dust mites everywhere - one of my worst allergies. I'm allergic to trees, grasses, weeds, dogs, cats, dust mites, and molds.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      This is a wonderful helping people with allergies.