Causes and Symptoms of Outdoor Allergies

Environmental allergies can occur at any time of the year, especially in warmer climates. Symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common things to expect include a runny nose, watery eyes, stuffy nose, and sneezing. So what causes outdoor allergies? Well, you might be surprised that they usually stem from just two things: pollen and mold.

The pollen that plants produce is transported in different ways. Brightly colored flowers depend on bees and other insects to transport the pollen so it can be fertilized. In general, these plants don’t cause issues for allergy sufferers. Other plants, however, produce a powder-like pollen that is spread by the wind. This type of pollen is likely to cause allergic reactions.

Mold is the second major culprit. It can be present nearly anywhere you can imagine, in both the outdoors and indoors. Mold is actually a collection of microscopic fungi that are related to mushrooms. Just like pollen, mold spores float around in the air and can sit on hard surfaces.

Both mold and pollen particles trigger your immune system. The symptoms you feel when you’re having an allergic reaction are actually a response to antibodies that your immune system has produced.

You can decrease the impact environmental allergies have on your life by tracking your symptoms and remembering when symptoms present themselves. One way you can do that is by keeping a simple allergy calendar, marking down the days when your symptoms are severe, moderate, mild, or not present. After a year, you’ll have a good base of data so you and your allergist can prepare for and combat symptoms before they appear in the future.

Dr. Summit Shah

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