Erin Doman on August 31, 2016 0 Comments It is estimated that around 50 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies, and those numbers are only increasing. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 40 percent of children and 30 percent of adults have some type of allergy, making it the fifth most common chronic disease in the country. The typical symptoms of allergies include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, itchy eyes and dark under eye circles. This is commonly referred to as hay fever. Allergic reactions might also include rashes, hives or the more dangerous anaphylaxis. During the summer, the most common allergens that can trigger a reaction are weeds and grasses, such as the infamous ragweed, and there might also be some pollen or mold in the air. There are also other, more obscure culprits of summer allergies that might be more common than one might think. 1. Pollution Air Purifiers to Help You Breathe Easy Although it is not technically an allergen, pollution does cause health issues, including exacerbating allergies and asthma. Pollution might be an issue year-round, but it is common for the effect to be greater during the summer. Therefore, a person might only experience symptoms in the summer. For some people, pollution might actually be the main contributing factor to their allergies or asthma. Studies have found a link between pollution and the development of asthma, especially in children. There is also a correlation between an increase in incidences of hay fever and more outdoor air pollution in a given area. 2. Dust Mites During the hot, humid months of summer, dust mites thrive. These microscopic insects are found in fabric, carpets, beds and other areas around the house. When a person breathes in the residue from these bugs, it can lead to wheezing, runny noses and sneezing. One tiny little dust mite has the ability to create waste that measures 200 times its body weight. A protein within this waste tends to be the culprit behind people’s response. The more mites exist in a building, the more waste, and thereby the higher the chance of a reaction. Approximately 20 million Americans are allergic to dust mites. 3. Insects A common annoyance during the summer is the insects that come out to play, including bees, mosquitoes and ticks. Most people are very familiar with the life-threatening allergy that some people have for bees. However, many people also have an allergic reaction to bites from mosquitoes and ticks. Almost everyone has some type of reaction upon a bug bite or sting. However, for some, it becomes much more than a small bump that itches. Some people break out into massive hives and rashes. Those with a severe allergy might go into anaphylactic shock, although this is rare. 4. Fruits There are numerous sweet, juicy fruits whose peak season occurs during the summer months. Most summer barbecues or beach days are not complete without some watermelon, oranges, peaches or berries of some sort. While many enjoy nature’s candy with no problem, for some, it can lead to an allergic reaction. Some of these fruits have a protein structure that bears a close resemblance to pollens and grasses that are common summer allergens, causing the body to react the same as it would to the allergen. This is known as oral allergy syndrome. For most, this presents as a rash or an itchy, burning sensation, but it might end up causing anaphylaxis in rare incidences. Sometimes, cooking the fruit reduces the allergic response. 5. Meat There is another obscure summer allergen hiding at barbecues: red meat. This allergy is not actually due to the meat itself; instead, it is due to a delayed reaction to a tick bite. After a person is bitten by the Lone Star tick, or Amblyomma americanum, he or she might react to the sugar found in meat. This can occur hours later and typically causes hives, but like many allergens, it might lead to anaphylaxis in some individuals. Tick prevention helps one avoid this reaction, and not consuming meat after a suspected tick encounter also plays a role in deterring it. 6. Sun It might seem odd that something like the sun can cause allergies in people, but it is more common that one might think. During the summer, sun allergy is more prevalent due to people spending more time outdoors, and the longer days and more intense light also play a role. This type of allergy typically consists of an itchy red rash on the skin on the arms, lower legs, back of the hands, or the neck. In sensitive people, just a few minutes outside in the sunshine can lead to a rash. There are a few different types of sun allergy, including solar urticaria, photoallergic eruption, actinic prurigo and polymorphous light eruption. The latter is the most common and affects as much as 10 and 15 percent of the U.S. population. Sometimes, the rash might be due to sunscreen, bug spray or other substances applied to the skin and/or the reaction between the UV rays of the sun and those substances. 7. Lightning Storms Although people are not allergic to lightning per se, it can seem like it. During big thunderstorms, grass pollen becomes broken up into even smaller pieces. This makes it easier to breathe it into the lungs, exacerbating allergy and asthma symptoms. This effect might last for a few days after a large storm, so it is best for asthmatics and those who are sensitive to not spend too much time outside during this post-storm period. Any change in the weather might also lead to an exacerbation of allergy symptoms or symptoms similar to allergies. Whether you are suffering due to these common summer allergens or one of the more obscure ones, it is important to take preventative measures. Staying inside, using an air purifier and keeping the home clean will help to reduce indoor allergens and pollution. Beware of hanging laundry out to dry, as it might pick up allergens and bring them inside, causing a reaction. Everyone is different, so it is important to get tested by a doctor upon experiencing symptoms to discover the allergen and ensure there is not a more severe medical condition masking as allergies.