Health Issues

Allergy Symptoms

How to know if you have indoor allergies

If you suspect you or a family member may be allergic to something in the home, professional testing is the only way to be sure. Allergy specialists generally use two methods: skin testing or blood testing. If breathing-specific symptoms are present, they may also test lung or nasal function. None of the tests are 100 percent accurate, but results can be combined with information such as symptoms experienced and medical history to find the likely cause.

Skin-prick tests involve a scratch or injection through which the allergen is introduced in miniscule amounts. If the skin swells and turns red, a positive reaction is confirmed. Blood tests can detect high or low levels of different substances in the blood. Antibodies, which the body produces in response to a substance it deems a threat, can be detected for various allergens.

Allergic rhinitis

You might know this allergy symptom as hay fever and experience it at the same time each year or all year round, depending on what you're allergic to. Allergic rhinitis is an ongoing - as opposed to an immediate, serious - reaction to airborne pollens, and the triggers can be almost impossible to avoid. Dust mites and animal allergies are two common causes of year-round allergic rhinitis.

Some common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are:

  • Continuous sneezing, especially when waking up
  • Runny nose
  • Burning sensation in the nose
  • Post-nasal drip (Mucus drains into the throat. It can cause a cough, sore throat, bad breath, hoarseness and laryngitis.)
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itchy ears, nose or throat
  • Sinusitis or ear infections (These can appear if exposure is high or if the condition isn't treated. In the case of sinusitis, facial pressure, discolored mucus and dental pain can be early indicators.)

Getting rid of allergens is the best way to treat allergic rhinitis. Cleaning the home with certain vacuums or using air purifiers can often help reduce the number of allergens. Some people may be experiencing symptoms caused by mold, which can hide in the home and send out a constant supply of spores.

Knowing allergy symptoms and connecting them to specific contact can help identify what triggers to avoid. An allergy test can easily confirm suspicions and let you begin the process of eliminating allergens from the home.

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