Next Up

Top Allergy and Asthma Triggers

By: Stephanie Welch Alexander
Identify the top triggers in and around your home, then follow our tips to help clear the air.
1 / 9

Identifying Allergens

Allergies can strike at any time — not just in the spring or fall. Allergens (specific substances containing proteins that trigger sneezing, sniffling, watery eyes and rashes) cause the release of histamine in individuals carrying the antibody immunoglobulin E. In severe cases, a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis can result. We'll help you idenity the top trigger in and around your home, so you can breathe better.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 9


Plants have pollination cycles which are consistent from year to year — no surprise to allergy-sufferers. Weather conditions can also affect the amount of pollen in the air at any one time. The pollination season occurs earliest in the south and progressively later in northern regions. Trees pollinate earliest, followed by grasses and, finally, weeds. Thankfully, pollens (the small, round male cells of plants), traveling as far as 400 miles away and up to two miles in the air, vanish after the first frost.

More photos after this Ad

3 / 9


Molds — parasitic, microscopic fungi lacking stems, roots or leaves — can make allergy-sufferers pretty miserable. As many as 250,000 mold spores can fit on one pin head, and they are found both indoors and outdoors. Levels peak in late summer and fall months.

Outdoor molds usually grow in moist shade areas (soil, decaying vegetation, leaves and rotten wood); indoor molds are usually found in dark, humid areas of the home (basements, cellars, attics and bathrooms). Mucor, Aspergillus and Penicillium are common indoor molds.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 9


Proteins found in the saliva, pet dander and urine of furry animals can cause allergic reactions in 15 percent of the general population and in 20 percent to 30 percent of asthma sufferers. These proteins are carried on small, invisible particles that land on the lining of the eyes and nose or are inhaled directly into the lungs. Allergies can even flare up when the sufferer is exposed to dander carried on the clothing of pet owners.

More photos after this Ad