Allergies can strike any age group just about any time of year: spring, summer, fall and even winter. In fact, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies each year. Allergies develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to something in the environment that typically causes no problem in most people. These substances – known as allergens – are found in dust mites, pets, pollen, insects, ticks, molds, foods and some medicines. Allergens themselves may not be harmful, but a typical allergic reaction might include these symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Red, watery and itchy eyes
- Tired feeling
- Food allergies may cause tingling of the mouth, difficulty breathing, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea
While the term “seasonal allergies” generally refers to hay fever (an allergy to grass, pollen and mold), there is another group of triggers tied to particular seasons:
- Smoke (campfires in summer, fireplaces in winter)
- Insect bites and stings (usually in spring and summer)
- Chlorine in indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- Candy ingredients (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter)
- Evergreen trees and wreaths (Thanksgiving to Christmas)
Source: CDC and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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