Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies involve an immune system overreaction to things that exist in our everyday surroundings, including home, work, and the great outdoors. You may also hear this immune system response referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis.

Symptoms

Allergy sufferers report a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Wheezing
  • Dark under-eye circles
  • Hives

If your allergies are seasonal, symptoms will worsen when your allergens emerge into the environment. Any of these environmental allergies can trigger asthma.

Causes

An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system produces antibodies to fight an allergen, even though that allergen in itself is not a threat. The most common environmental allergens are pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, and cockroaches.

Pollen
Pollen, a fine yellow powder, travels through the air thanks to the wind, insects, and other animals. Typically, spring brings tree pollen, late spring and early summer feature abundant grass pollen, and fall sees ragweed and other weeds. Many Central Texas residents also battle cedar fever (an allergic reaction to mountain cedar trees) December through March.

Dust
Dust mites cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are microscopic bugs that live in carpet, bedding, upholstery, stuffed toys, and bedding. Dust mites thrive in warm, human conditions, so this allergy may flare up most often in spring and summer but can cause problems year-round.

Pet dander
While exposure to animal saliva and urine can sometimes cause allergic reactions, pet dander (dead skin cells) is the most common source of pet allergies.

Mold
Molds live outdoors and in moist indoor environments. The spores float through the air like pollen, with outdoor levels peaking in late summer in Central Texas.

Cockroaches
Cockroach droppings, saliva, and waste can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Greater Austin Allergy knows you deserve to live a life free of environmental allergies. Our physicians have many years of experience and training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. We will talk over your medical history and symptoms, and then move forward with testing. Depending on your individual situation, testing may include a skin prick test, an intradermal test, and/or a blood test.

Once we pinpoint the source of your allergies, we will tailor a treatment plan specifically for you. In addition to medication and lifestyle recommendations, we can discuss immunotherapy options. Greater Austin Allergy offers sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops) and subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). For your convenience, our allergy shots can be scheduled using a personalized Cluster Immunotherapy plan that provides faster results than a traditional schedule. Both allergy shots and drops can help decrease your body’s immune response to allergens and lessen symptoms.

Schedule an appointment today so we can ease the burden of your environmental allergies and get you back to a healthy, productive life.

Environmental Allergies Facts