Allergies are caused by allergens, which are substances harmless to most people that trigger an immune response in others. The body releases an antibody, called immunoglobulin E, which sets off a chemical reaction to the allergen that is disproportionate to any actual health threat. Indoor/outdoor allergies are those caused by allergens commonly found in either domestic or out-of-home environments.
Indoor allergens include pet dander, dust mites, cockroaches, and molds. Grass, weed, and tree pollens are the most typical outdoor allergens, though mold spores can also contribute. One important difference between indoor and outdoor allergies is that indoor allergies are mostly year-round while outdoor allergies tend to be seasonal, usually in conjunction with a plant’s reproductive cycle.
The symptoms of indoor/outdoor allergies are often similar. These include itchy eyes, nose, scalp, and mouth, runny nose or congestion, coughing, tearing, and sneezing. More serious symptoms involve swelling, skin rashes, and labored breathing. The good news is that medical science has developed a number of tools to help sufferers manage indoor/outdoor allergies. To learn steps that you can take, or to explore the possibility of medical treatments such as immunotherapy, contact your Baptist Health primary care provider.