Airborne allergens affect the nose, throat, lungs, and eyes. In the nose, they cause hay fever (allergic rhinitis) in individuals who are sensitized. Asthma, allergic laryngitis, and itchy eyes are other consequences. The culprits are also called inhalant allergens, and they include a variety of plant and animal material, usually protein, which is harmless to people who are not allergic. Anyone can be allergic to any number of different things. An allergist can perform skin testing to find out which ones affect you.
According to Dr. Frank K. Kwong, the top ten airborne allergens are:
1. Tree pollen
2. Grass pollen
3. Weed pollen
4. Mold spores
5. Cat dander
6. Dog dander
7. House dust mites
10. Other dander and organic fibers
The pollens are seasonal, and vary considerably from one location to another. Spring and fall are the worst times in most parts of the country. So if seasonal allergies make your life completely miserable, does it make sense to move?
Dr. Kwong writes that it generally takes three to five years to become sensitized to pollens and other allergens. So a move to a different part of the country may buy you some time, but it won’t be a permanent cure. One of my friends moved from Tennessee to Michigan, and said Michigan was paradise in the winter because the plants stay covered with snow and don’t produce pollen. But other allergens lurk indoors.