Common Allergens You Need to Watch Out For


Runny nose, watery eyes and wheezing. Along with the change of weather, a lot of people experience these symptoms. But do you know that the culprit is oftentimes more than just the weather?

National Allergy Day aims to educate Filipinos on the immune system’s abnormal reaction when a foreign substance is absorbed into the body. According to the National Nutrition and Health Survey, two out of every ten Filipinos suffer from allergic rhinitis. Respiratory allergies also doubled during the period of 1986 to 2006.

If you’re one of those suffering from allergies, here are some of their common causes:

Photo credit to: Savanna Holland


DUST MITES AND MOLDS

Microscopic critters which include dust mites easily adapt to the home environment, making them the most common cause of allergy according to the Department of Health (DOH). They thrive in warm, humid places and are often found on pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture. Meanwhile, molds are fungi that can be found in moist, dim, damp, and warm places and produce spores that float in the air.

Treatments for these airborne allergens include:
•Antihistamines and decongestants
•Nasal sprays
•Eyedrops
•Oral steroids
•Desensitization or stimulating the immune system with the allergen in order to modify or stop the allergic response.

Photo by: Paul Michael Caisip


FOOD ALLERGY

In the Philippines, food is another source of irritation. This happens when an immune system overreacts to a particular protein found in food. Food allergy reactions can be life-threatening, so people with this type of allergy must be very careful to avoid their food triggers.

These are the most common foods responsible for the majority of allergic reactions:

• Cow’s milk
• Eggs
• Fish
• Peanuts
• Shellfish
• Soy
• Tree nuts
• Wheat

The best treatment for food allergies is to avoid the food that causes the allergy. But in case you encounter a food allergy, here are some home remedies:

•Load up on apples and grapes because these strengthen the immune system.
•If you’re not allergic to bananas, consume two bananas to treat food allergies that affect the skin, digestive tract and cause asthma.
•Eat more green and leafy vegetables.
•Fruit or vegetable juice or plain water with half a teaspoon of castor oil can cure any food allergy that affect the intestinal tract, skin and nasal passages.
•Lemon or calamansi mixed in water with a teaspoon of honey can flush out allergens and impurities.
•Vitamins B5 and E control allergic reactions.


ANIMAL DANDER

The sad fact is, according to American College of Allergy, about 10 percent of the general population is allergic to animals. Dander or material shed from parts of an animal’s body such as fur and feathers is considered one of the most common allergens.

If you have this type of allergy but don’t want to let go of your pets, here are some tips to make living with a furry friend more bearable:

•Minimize exposure to allergens by keeping your pet outside in well-protected built-in fences.
•Remove or replace materials that trap pet dander, such as carpets, drapes, and other furniture made of fabric.
•Clean your home regularly.
•Consider getting an air purifier especially one with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration to ensure efficient removal of airborne allergens and pollutants.
•Wash beddings frequently.
•Bathe your pet at least once a week to wash off allergens that accumulate in its fur.
•Use anti-allergen room sprays.
•Promote proper hygiene in the house, especially among children who love to play with pets.

There are other factors that affect and may cause allergic reactions such as smoking, pollution, infection, and hormonal imbalance.

Before following any of our advice, remember to consult your doctor. But one thing’s certain: it is best to know exactly what you are allergic to in order to treat your reaction.

Eunice Joy Juntayas

Eunice Joy Juntayas

Enjoys wearing many hats, including being a handicraft artist, storyteller, photographer, and most recently, Panahon TV's latest weather reporter. Being a responsible broadcast journalist allows her to spread her eco-friendly advocacies, and inspire her fellow youth to embrace their uniqueness and creativity.