5 Surprising Allergy Triggers

Allergies, Asthma, Daily Health Solutions, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on April 1, 2011
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Perplexed by your sudden breakout, sneezing fit or itchy skin? These everyday activities could be the culprit.

The neighborhood pool.  
It’s not the screaming kids you’re allergic to—it’s the pollen. “Pollen from trees and grasses accumulate in outdoor pools, causing watery eyes, rashes and sneezing,” says Dr. Allen Meadows, of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). First check that the pool’s filter is doing its job, and consult an allergist before diving in again.

Your cellphone.
All that time gabbing on your cell has caused a new allergy. “Patients come in with dry, itchy patches on their cheeks and ears from the nickel in cell phones,” Meadows says. Shop for a nickel-free phone or use a plastic film cover or a wireless earpiece.

Your date.
Before you smooch, fess up about your peanut allergy. “Food allergens may be found in the saliva up to 24 hours after the food has been eaten,” says Dr. Myron Zitt, ACAAI past president. While brushing teeth and rinsing helps, it may not totally prevent reactions—your best bet is to practice abstinence and wait it out.

Your yoga class.
Feeling itchy while you’re downward dogging is no good for your yoga practice. You may be allergic to your latex mat or exercise clothes, often made of polyester and nylon. Switch to a latex-free mat and choose Lycra clothing, which is less likely to irritate, Meadows says.

Cloudy skies.
You can’t exactly be allergic to weather, but “if you already suffer from respiratory allergies, the drop in barometric pressure on a cloudy day can cause an increase in sinus pressure and headaches,” Zitt says. Use a Neti pot and saline solution to wash out nasal passages and alleviate some of the pressure.