Some 35 million Americans suffer from airborne allergies that cause upper respiratory tract symptoms. Airborne allergens are everywhere: in our homes, offices, and the outdoors. Inside, the most common allergens include dust mites, mold spores, cigarette smoke, pet dander, pet hair, chemicals used for cleaning, and strong perfumes and colognes. Outside, the most common allergens are plant pollens and dust, which are hard to escape since they are constantly being moved from place to place from the breeze or wind. Individuals may be allergic to some types of pollen (such as ragweed here in Middle Tennessee) and not others.
It’s difficult to completely avoid environmental allergens but here are some tips that can help.
In short, no good comes from smoking cigarettes. When cigarettes are inhaled, the tobacco can cause extreme irritation, especially in patients who already have respiratory symptoms caused by allergies to pollen, dust, and other airborne contaminants. Cigarette smoke also prevents the tiny cilia hairs, which are designed to protect your sinuses and nasal passages, from doing their job. If the cilia can't prevent dust and other allergens from entering the respiratory system, allergic reactions become stronger and harder to control. In addition, it’s important not to expose children to tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of developing asthma and other chronic respiratory illnesses.
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