Allergies are one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor. Allergens, normally harmless substances like pollen, latex and mold, can lead to the development of allergy symptoms in people prone to allergies. Allergens that travel through air may cause respiratory and nasal symptoms, and allergens you ingest may cause gastrointestinal or other systemic symptoms. Allergies sometimes run in families, but it’s unknown why some people develop allergies and others don’t. Be aware of your allergy triggers and ways to prevent them.

Woman sneezing

Allergies or hay fever can be triggered by food, pollen, grass, mold, latex, dust, medication, insects and pets. The most common allergy symptoms include:

  • Watery, itchy, burning or bloodshot eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchiness
  • Skin swelling
  • Rash or hives (red bumps or welts)

How to Find out What You Are Allergic to:

Keep a record. Track your activity, what you eat, when you go outdoors, when you are around pets and when and what allergy symptoms occur. This can help you and your doctor determine what may be causing your allergies.

How Can You Prevent an Allergic Reaction?

  • Avoid the substances that cause your allergy symptoms
  • If you determine you are allergic to pollen or grasses, keep your windows closed in your home and car and use air conditioning during the summer months if you can.
  • Pollen counts are highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., so avoid going outside during these times
  • Avoid the outdoors when it is dry and windy

Severe or Serious Symptoms That May Be Life-threatening Include:

  • Wheezing or any difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

If you are at risk for anaphylaxis and have been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector (Epi-pen) keep it with you at all times.

Some allergic reactions are severe and can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention. Please call 911 in any emergency. Call the Denver Health NurseLine (303-739-1261) to get the help you or your child needs. They are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and care about your health.

Denver Health Medical Plan Staff Writer