When it's the height of spring and summer and pollen is whirling around in the air like the cow from The Wizard of Oz, you expect to sneeze and sniff -- but what about in the dead of winter, or in a climate where you normally don't get seasonal allergies? There are a million things you could be allergic to that could be plugging up your nose and increasing your dependence on tissues and nasal spray, but until you identify the source of the stuff, you'll be left to pile on antihistamine after antihistamine. So if you're looking for common allergies you might not be aware you even have, then here's what you need to know.
Sure, it's gross when those little fuzzy blue spots grow on your bread, but did you know that mold growing in your house -- even if you can't see it -- could be making your nose stuffy? Mold allergies are relatively uncommon, with only about 10% of Americans having a mold allergy. But if you're one of that 10%, living in moist climates or with messy roommates can make life almost unbearable. To prevent mold-related allergies, make sure to clean up any messes right when they occur, and do a sweep for mold in place it's likely to grow -- shower faucets, under sinks, or behind the toilet.
They could be in your pillows, down blankets, mattress -- and you could definitely be allergic to them. An allergy to feathers is usually more suspected by people than actually proven, but if you find yourself sneezing around feathers -- or getting congestion or rashes when you use feather pillows or blankets. It may be a sign that you should trade out your plush feather bedding for something that doesn't make your nights a mess of sniffing and sneezing, like memory foam pillows or blankets filled with wool.
No one likes dust, and it's easy to sneeze or cough whenever some gets in your nose or throat, but if you have an actual allergy to dust mites (and 20 million Americans do), you'll either have to dust each and every day with a mask on, or take dust prevention measures. Investing in dust-resistant covers for your bedding, dusting with a damp cloth rather than a feather duster, and washing your clothing and bedding at least once a week in 130 F water are good steps to take in minimizing your dust mite allergy.
Contact a heath care professional for more information.