Start learning about allergies here to help you understand your triggers and symptoms.


What are allergies?

An ‘allergy’ is a sensitivity of your immune system to something that is ordinarily harmless. Allergens are ‘foreign substances’ ’ recognized by your body and are derived from a variety of allergen sources: animals, pollen, dust and mold. When you take a breath through your nose, you bring allergens into your body. It is when your body encounters the foreign substance inside your nose that the allergic cascade begins. 

The allergic cascade refers to reactions that happen in your body following allergen exposure.  The tissues inside the nose of people who suffer from allergies respond by releasing substances such as histamine.  Histamines are recognized by other cells in the body leading to allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and itchy throat or nose.

An antihistamine such as Claritin (with the active ingredient loratadine) works by targeting and hindering the effect of the allergic cascade – for example blocking the histamine receptors.  Although there are hundreds of different allergens that come from animals, pollen, dust and mold, allergy medications relieve the symptoms triggered by these allergens.

Outdoor: Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies describe allergies that change with the seasons due to pollen from plants. These allergens can be difficult to manage because it seems like they’re everywhere and they’re difficult to avoid. For people with seasonal allergies, symptoms come and go with the pollination seasons of certain trees, grasses or weeds. Pollen levels from these plants can vary day to day, depending upon several factors, including the weather. High pollen levels can, in turn, affect the severity of symptoms.

Indoor: Year-Round Allergies

Indoor allergies can occur any time of the year and are caused by substances like dust mites, mold spores, or pet dander. These allergens can be difficult to manage, especially since they tend to exist in our homes year-round. Since you’re often indoors during winter, household allergens like molds, dust mites, and pet dander can be troublesome.