Inhalant allergens are airborne allergens. Inhaling airborne allergens can affect the eyes, nose, ears, voice box, throat, airways, lungs, trachea, bronchioles and skin. Typical allergic symptoms caused by airborne allergens include sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion (allergic rhinitis or hay fever). When an allergic victim’s eyes are affected, they may experience itchy, watery and red eyes.
Most common airborne allergens:
- Pollen : Pollen come from wind-pollinating plants. These include trees, grasses and weeds. Common tree pollens are olive, birch, elm, and walnuts. Grasses generate much pollen. Examples include blue, rye, bermuda grasses, and red top. Weeds are mostly wind-pollinated. Examples of these are ragweed, pigweed, sagebrush, tumbleweed. Ragweed is the most important cause of seasonal allergic hay fever. There are many more trees, grasses and weeds that generate allergy-cause pollens.
- Mold Spores: Many types of molds live in our environment. Mold can be found almost everywhere in indoor and outdoor areas that are warm, dark, and/or moist. Molds are that commonly grow on bread and food left out in the open. It is also mold that grows along the grout in the shower. Mold reproduce by sending tiny spores into the air.
- Cat Dander, Dog Dander: Cats groom themselves, they lick their fur and when the saliva (which contain a specific protein) dries, it flakes off into microscopic particles that float throughout the air. Dander does not come from hair or skin itself, but comes from a protein produced by the saliva. Cat dander is not dandruff. Dandruff is composed of skin cells. Cat dander becomes airborne, landing on different surfaces, like human’s skin and clothing. Through the air, dander can enter the mucous membranes in the lungs, causing allergies to some individuals. Cat dander allergens can remain airborne for long periods of time. They are also very sticky and cling to wall surfaces and clothing. Cat dander particles are about 1/10th the size of dust mites. Cats may be more likely than dogs to cause allergic reactions because they lick themselves more, may be held more, and spend more time in the house, close to humans.
- House Dust Mites: Dust mites are microscopic animals. The droppings and decaying bodies of dust mites are common allergens. These dust mites live all around us, in bedding, carpets, stuffed furniture, stuffed animals, old clothing. They feed on human skin scales. Dust mites are most common in humid climates. They don’t survive when the humidity is below 50%. If droppings or dust mites are inhaled or come in contact with the skin, they may cause allergy, asthma, eczema symptoms.
- Cockroaches: Cockroach allergen is believed to derive from feces, saliva, and the bodies of these insects. Cockroaches live all over the world, from tropical areas to the coldest spots on earth. The amount of roach allergen in house dust or air can be measured. Allergen particles are large and settle rapidly on surfaces. They became airborne when the air is stirred by people moving around.