And the number seems to be growing. But many people don't even know they have allergies or know what allergies actually are. Here's some basic allergy information to help you be more prepared.
Allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to foreign substances in the environment called allergens. Exposure to what is normally a harmless substance, such as pollen, causes the immune system to react as if the substance were harmful. In essence, allergies are your body's effort to get rid of substances it feels are dangerous.
Some people who suffer from allergies don't know they have them because many of the symptoms are similar to those of the common cold. Colds may be associated with a fever or muscle ache, whereas allergies are not.
Most allergies are inherited. So, if your mother or father has allergies, there's a chance you'll have them too. However, you may not be allergic to the same allergens as they are. The environment you live in, air pollution and pollen in the air can all have a major effect.
You might have allergies, but there are a number of things you can do to help prevent, treat and live with your symptoms. Try these helpful tips to make your life with allergies a little easier.
Exercise options: Know that pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning, so avoid AM activities outdoors. Be wary of windy days, when allergens really blow about.
Stock up on Alavert®: The allergy relief medicine that costs a lot less than other allergy medicines. There are remedies for all types of symptoms and for every member of the family – including kids age six and up.
Quick-dissolving relief: Don’t wait for allergy symptoms to strike or they could just get worse. Treat them with quick-dissolving Alavert® - you’ll feel it burst into action instantly and know that relief is on the way.
Stay alert: Think twice about allergy medicines that can make you sleepy. Rely on Alavert® for effective, non-drowsy* relief so you can enjoy every minute of the season. Remember, Alavert® comes in a 24-hour formula for non-stop relief.
Mask the situation: Wear an inexpensive painter's mask when you mow the grass, rake leaves and/or garden.
Take leave: Kids allergic to mold? Keep them from jumping in dead autumn leaves.
Brake the mold: Keep mold from building up indoors; clean out humidifiers so mold spores don’t accumulate.
Hearth and home: Got firewood? Store it outside so that mold and leaves aren’t tracked indoors.
Stinging allergies? Avoid sweet-smelling deodorants, perfumes, and hair products that attract insects.
Good bye red eye: Sunglasses protect you from harmful UV rays, and help keep pollen from irritating your eyes.
Free ride: Oils from poisonous plants (poison ivy, oak and sumac) love to hitch a ride on pet’s fur. Keep household animals out of the woods and out of your bedroom.
Allergy pre-alert: Start allergy meds a few weeks before pollen season flares.
Weather watch: Breezy, warm mornings carry the most pollen; cool, rainy days, the lowest.
Stormy brew: Thunderstorms can stir up mold spores and pollen particles so watch out when the storm blows over.
Spring fall-out: Get ready for 2-for-1 allergies. Unfortunately, spring pollen allergies usually mean a sensitivity to fall ragweed, too.
Muffle the cold: Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf: cold, dry air can irritate sensitive airways.
In the swim: The 10 to 15-inch layer of humid air above ocean water helps keep airways moist; swimming is also great exercise for your entire body.
Linens and things: Purchase mattress and pillow covers that trap dust mites so your allergies don’t wake you up.
Chill out: Help reduce pollen exposure by shutting windows and turning the A/C on.
Stuff those animals away: Keep plush toys and dust collectors from attracting mites. Use hot water to clean washable toys, stow the rest in dust-free containers.
Window treatment: Choose easy-to-clean blinds over curtains: dust mites can be washed away more easily.
Rug rats: Dust mites love a good carpet so try not to roll around on the rug with kids and pets. Dust and vacuum regularly.
Allergic to holidays? Shake live Christmas trees thoroughly and dry them outside before decorating. Dust and clean fake trees with mold and mildew cleaner and store in a clean, dry place.