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Allergy Basics

From fluffy kittens to lush lawns to shady trees, some of the most beautiful things out there can make allergyX allergy
An exaggerated response of the immune system to a substance that is ordinarily harmless.  
symptoms act up. Find out what causes allergies and what to do about them, so you can enjoy more of the world around you.

What Are Allergies?

In people with allergies, the immune systemX immune system
The body’s defense system that protects us against infections and foreign substances.  
mistakes a substance that’s ordinarily harmless to most people (substances from pollenX pollen
A fine, powdery substance, typically yellow, consisting of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower called a stamen or from the male cone of a tree. 
, mouldX mould
Parasitic, microscopic fungi (like Alternaria) that float in the air like pollen. Mould spores are a common trigger for allergies and can be found in damp areas, such as the basement or bathroom, as well as outdoors in grass, leaf piles, hay, mulch or under mushrooms. 
, pet dander and dust mitesX dust mites
A common trigger for indoor allergies. They are microscopic mites that live in the fibers of pillows, mattresses, blankets and carpet. They live off of our dead skin cells. Inhalation of their droppings can cause allergic reactions such as runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion.
) for something dangerous and attacks it. These normally harmless substances are called allergens.

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What Causes Allergy Symptoms?

When you take a breath or rub your nose or eyes, allergens enter your body and your immune systemX immune system
The body’s defense system that protects us against infections and foreign substances.  
and trigger a hypersensitivity reaction. To get rid of the substance it thinks is harmful, your body undergoes various reactions and releases inflammatory mediators like histamineX histamine
A naturally occurring substance that is released by the immune system after being exposed to an allergen. When you inhale an allergen, mast cells located in the nose and sinus membranes release histamine. Histamine then attaches to receptors on nearby blood vessels, causing them to enlarge (dilate)…
.

When the histamine binds to receptors on other cells in your body, it causes you to experience allergyX allergy
An exaggerated response of the immune system to a substance that is ordinarily harmless.  
symptoms, including runny nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes or itchy nose.

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DID YOU KNOW?

To rid itself of the allergenX allergen
A substance that your body perceives as foreign and harmful; initiates the allergic reaction.
, your body undergoes various allergic reactions known as the “allergic cascade.”1 This results in various inflammatory mediators. One of these mediators that is released by the immune systemX immune system
The body’s defense system that protects us against infections and foreign substances.  
after being exposed to an allergen is histamineX histamine
A naturally occurring substance that is released by the immune system after being exposed to an allergen. When you inhale an allergen, mast cells located in the nose and sinus membranes release histamine. Histamine then attaches to receptors on nearby blood vessels, causing them to enlarge (dilate)…
. When you inhale an allergen, mast cells release histamine. HistamineX Histamine
A naturally occurring substance that is released by the immune system after being exposed to an allergen. When you inhale an allergen, mast cells located in the nose and sinus membranes release histamine. Histamine then attaches to receptors on nearby blood vessels, causing them to enlarge (dilate)…
then attaches to receptors on nearby blood vessels, causing them to enlarge (dilate). Histamine also binds to other receptors located in nasal tissues, causing swelling, itching and runny nose.

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How Claritin® Helps Reduce Allergy Symptoms

a flower bouqet with, "there are over 200 different allergens out there," superimposed on top

 

Claritin® is an antihistamineX antihistamine
Medication that relieves symptoms of sneezing, itching and runny nose by blocking histamine receptors.
so it hinders the cascade triggered by allergens.

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How Are Allergies Diagnosed?

Sometimes, it’s easy to guess what you might be allergic to. For example, do you sneeze every time you go into a dusty attic? Or do your symptoms act up every year during ragweed season?

But if you’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms, you can see an allergist to help identify what you’re allergic to — so you know what triggers to avoid. At the appointment, your doctor will:1

  • Take your personal and medical history to help understand your symptoms and their possible causes. It’s a good idea to jot down some notes before your appointment about your family history, lifestyle and potential triggers.
  • Perform a physical exam, paying special attention to your nose, throat, eyes, ears, chest and skin.
  • Conduct a skin test, patch test and/or blood test to help determine what you’re allergic to.
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Reducing Your Exposure to Airborne Allergens

In addition to taking Claritin® to relieve symptoms, it’s important to help reduce your exposure to allergyX allergy
An exaggerated response of the immune system to a substance that is ordinarily harmless.  
triggers in the first place. You can find simple tips for helping to reduce your exposure to the different indoor and outdoor allergens below.

Outdoor Seasonal Allergies

Outdoor allergiesX Outdoor allergies
Characterized by an overreaction of the immune system to certain allergens (see Allergens) found outside, such as tree, grass or weed pollens, mould spores, etc. (Also called hay fever and seasonal allergies.) Outdoor allergies tend to last for shorter periods of time than those caused by exposure…
are often called seasonal allergiesX seasonal allergies
Characterized by an overreaction of the immune system to certain allergens (see Allergens) found outside, such as tree, grass or weed pollens, mould spores, etc. (Also called hay fever and outdoor allergies.) Seasonal allergies tend to last for shorter periods of time than those caused by exposure…
because they change with the seasons. They’re caused by an overreaction of the immune systemX immune system
The body’s defense system that protects us against infections and foreign substances.  
to ordinarily harmless allergens found outside, such as mouldX mould
Parasitic, microscopic fungi (like Alternaria) that float in the air like pollen. Mould spores are a common trigger for allergies and can be found in damp areas, such as the basement or bathroom, as well as outdoors in grass, leaf piles, hay, mulch or under mushrooms. 
spores and tree, grass and weed pollens. While these allergens can be difficult to avoid, you can find easy tips to help minimize your exposure so you can enjoy more of the great outdoors.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUTDOOR SEASONAL ALLERGIES

Indoor Allergies

Indoor allergiesX Indoor allergies
Characterized by an overreaction of the immune system to certain allergens (see Allergens) found indoors, such as mould spores, pet dander, or dust mites (also called perennial allergies). Indoor allergies tend to last longer than allergies caused by exposure to outdoor allergens.
are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to allergens from dust mitesX dust mites
A common trigger for indoor allergies. They are microscopic mites that live in the fibers of pillows, mattresses, blankets and carpet. They live off of our dead skin cells. Inhalation of their droppings can cause allergic reactions such as runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion.
, pet dander and mould. Indoor allergies can happen any time of the year, but may be more troublesome in the winter when many people spend more time inside. Our simple tips can help you reduce allergy triggers in your home.

LEARN MORE ABOUT INDOOR ALLERGIES

REFERENCES

  1. Allergy Diagnosis. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Accessed November 30, 2017.

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