8 Unexpected Allergy Triggers That Can Worsen Your Symptoms

Get relief from stuffiness and itchy eyes by avoiding these everyday perils

(This article previously appeared on Grandparents.com)

Thirty percent of adults have a seasonal or year-round nasal allergy (rhinitis) to pollen, dust, dust mites, mold and other allergens, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). And if you suffer from rhinitis, your itching and sneezing is likely at an all-time, unbearable high right now thanks to a phenomenon allergists are calling a “pollen tsunami.” The long, 2014-2015 winter delayed trees from budding until recently, causing their pollen to overlap with the budding season of other plants and grasses.

“It all relates to a threshold,” says Dr. Myron Zitt, an allergist and immunologist who’s been practicing in the New York area for more than 50 years. When summer’s grass pollen overlaps with spring’s tree pollen season, or when you breathe in irritants like diesel fuel or dirt, you’ll more readily have symptoms, he says. “It’s an additive effect. Irritants on top of allergens are going to cause more symptoms, because your membranes are already hyperreactive. The more things you can minimize your exposure to, the better off you are.”

Read on for the most common, yet unexpected, allergy triggers to avoid.

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