Allergic reactions happen when your immune system misinterprets harmless substances as dangerous. For example, many people get hay fever, an allergy caused by pollen. There is nothing hazardous about pollen, but the immune system mistakes it for a cold virus and goes into defense mode. The body releases chemicals to attack the “virus.” It reacts by getting rid of the “enemy” through the nose and eyes by causing a runny nose, sneezing, congestion and sinus pressure.
It is essential to understand that not all allergies are as harmless as hay fever. When the body’s reaction to a threatening substance affects the lungs, an emergency could develop in the blink of an eye. Signs and symptoms include difficulty breathing and wheezing. Hay fever is a seasonal allergy, and sufferers can take precautions because they expect it. In contrast, several products we have in our homes could unexpectedly cause an asthma allergy. Being aware of which products could cause it will help with emergency treatment.
Paint could cause asthma allergy
Most paint types contain chemicals called volatile organic compounds. If you are in or near a room being painted, breathing in the fumes could trigger an asthma-related allergic reaction. However, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has certified certain paints as zero or low in volatile organic compounds. So, if you plan to do some painting, look for paint with logos indicating “green paint” that also show zero or low VOCs.
Renovations may trigger an allergy
While we’re on the subject, let’s get to the materials around your property during a remodeling project. Products like drywall, plaster, vinyl for the floors, manufactured wood, wallpaper and, as mentioned, paint could all trigger asthma attacks. Any or all the products I said could release the same VOCs that I warned about in paint. Make no mistake, an allergic reaction if multiple materials release VOCs could be severe.
Hanging plastic sheeting as a shield between the renovation and the rest of the house might be a good idea. However, the VOCs will remain present in the air for several weeks. Essentially, you should air out the remodeled areas for several weeks before using them. If you are involved in a DIY renovation, protective clothing is essential.
However, if you can’t avoid the VOC fumes during the project, your best option would be to live elsewhere while the remodeling project is underway. It would also be a good idea to wait several weeks after completion before returning. Do not underestimate the risk of severe allergy asthma.
Certain air fresheners could trigger allergic attack
Many of the available air fresheners do nothing but mask unpleasant odors. Suppose you have noticed a sensitivity to specific brands of air fresheners in your car and your home. In that case, you might want to avoid using them in the future. You might not have linked wheeziness in you or your children to the air fresheners.
People with asthma allergy should avoid certain pain relievers
A small percentage of people with asthma have sensitivities to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin. If they take medications containing aspirin or NSAIDs, it could trigger severe asthma attacks. Asthma sufferers who are unsure whether they have such sensitivities might want to play it safe. They can safely use acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, for headaches or back pain.
Do you have a fruit allergy?
Have you noticed that ragweed or grass pollen in the air could make you feel a bit off? It could mean you have “oral allergy syndrome.” Although the grass pollen’s effect does no more than cause you to feel miserable, some fruits may cause allergic reactions. When you eat certain fruits like pears, apples, peaches, bananas or cucumber, your immune system can react by causing a scratchy throat and an itchy mouth. That happens when your immune system mistakes the natural chemicals in those fruits for pollen that cause allergies in many people.
Don’t make a mistake to ignore the tingling feeling in your mouth because the allergy can quickly become severe. You might also want to explain to your children to tell you if any food makes them feel yucky or itchy.
And then there’s an allergy that spoils the fun
Have you noticed your chest becoming tight when you drink wine? Don’t ignore it because it could cause severe allergy asthma. The trigger is additives called sulfites in wine that could cause allergies. Nitrates present in some processed meats can also cause allergies, although they do not affect the lungs. Nitrates cause hives and itching that could cause severe discomfort.
It could be tricky to identify a spice allergy
Food preparation involve frequent use of spices known to cause allergies and many people do not link allergic reactions to spices. However, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom and cumin are often the guilty ones that cause allergies. What makes a spice allergy even worse is that manufacturers of cosmetics, soaps and skincare products often add spices to their products. Not all of them indicate it on the labels, increasing the risk of unexpected allergic reactions.
Another fun spoiler is in your swimming pool
Many people have mild reactions on their skins after swimming because of a sensitivity to chlorine. However, that is more of a sensitivity than an allergy. Frequent exposure to chlorinated water in hot tubs and pools could cause those with the sensitivity to develop allergy asthma. The only suggestion without spoiling all your fun is to stay out of the water for a while after adding more chlorine.
How do you react to wood smoke?
Nothing could beat spending a cold winter day at the fireplace. Sadly, burning wood sends gases and irritating particles into the air, from where it enters your lungs. So, if you have a tendency to have allergic reactions, wood smoke may be the trigger. The American Lung Association suggests switching to propane or gas instead of traditional fires. Unfortunately, bonfires and marshmallow toasting might also not be for you.
Have you experienced allergy problems around Christmas time?
If you have a tight chest through the holidays each year, it might be the Christmas tree in your living room causing it. If you use live trees, you might bring pollen, fertilizer and wood mold right into your home. Giving the branches a proper wash might help and make sure it is completely dry before taking it inside. If that doesn’t work, your only option would be to invest in an artificial tree. However, even then, you could react to dust on it, and a thorough wash and dry after fetching it from storage will be crucial.