Of the millions of Americans with outdoor allergies, many develop allergic reactions to other allergens as well. For some, seasonal allergies (Allergic Rhinitis), turn into year-round perennial allergies, providing no relief from the itching and sneezing.
What Are Perennial Allergies?
Perennial allergies are simply allergies that occur year round; they do not happen seasonally or in reaction to one specific allergen. This condition is also called perennial allergic rhinitis. Often, these allergies are triggered by indoor allergens such as dust, pet dander or mold. Many people discover they have a perennial allergy once pollen season is over. When the weather changes and life moves indoors for the winter, these people find as much trouble inside as they found outside.
Causes of Perennial Allergies
Common causes of perennial allergies include:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
Symptoms of Perennial Allergies
Symptoms of perennial allergies are the same as any other allergy symptoms, except they will occur on a regular basis and not seasonally, or after exposure to a specific allergen such as a dog. Symptoms can include, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, stuffy nose, postnasal drip, headache, asthma, inflammation and an itchy throat. Remember, if you are wheezing severely or feel your throat is constricting, this is a sign of a more serious allergic reaction. See a doctor or go to the hospital immediately.
Protecting Yourself Against Perennial Allergies
There are many steps you can take to turn you home into a bubble against allergies. Vacuum and dust regularly; use a vacuum with a HEPA filter for maximum dust filtration. Wash curtains and blinds frequently, along with all rugs, blankets and bedding. Be sure to check underneath couches and beds to prevent dust from accumulating. Use hypo-allergenic pillow and mattress covers to keep dust at bay and protect from dust mites. Air conditioners and furnace vents should have proper filtration that is changed regularly. If you have a pet that triggers allergies, wash them regularly and keep flea treatments up to date.
Medications to Treat Perennial Allergies
There are a number of medications available to treat allergies. Your doctor can prescribe a wide variety of medications, both in the form of pills and nasal sprays. Some patients complain their allergy medicines make them feel drowsy and woozy; your doctor can recommend an alternative drug. Over the counter medications can be used for temporary or long term relief, but don't have the same ingredients as the prescription drugs do. Some people find relief through natural remedies such as the Netty Pot, which flushes the nasal passages with warm water. The FDA is testing and reviewing two new methods of treating allergies. A vaccine may soon be available which will treat allergies for a year in four shots over a four week period. Vitamin B-12 seems to be effective as an immune system booster which, along with relieving allergies, also has been reported to increase energy and clarity.
Photo Credit: Brian Negus