Allergic rhinitis is triggered by exposure to allergens, which are substances that your immune system identifies as harmful and initiates an allergic reaction to. The most common allergens that can trigger allergic rhinitis include:
- Pollen: Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds is a common trigger for seasonal allergic rhinitis. Different plants release their pollen during specific seasons, so symptoms may vary depending on the time of year.
- Dust mites: These microscopic creatures are found in house dust, particularly in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets. Dust mite allergy is a common trigger for perennial allergic rhinitis.
- Pet dander: Allergies to pet dander, which includes skin flakes, saliva, and urine of animals like cats and dogs, can cause allergic rhinitis. The allergens can become airborne and trigger symptoms.
- Mold spores: Mold is commonly found in damp environments, such as basements, bathrooms, and areas with water damage. Mold spores can be inhaled and trigger allergic reactions.
- Cockroaches: Cockroach droppings and body parts can trigger allergies in some individuals, particularly in urban areas where cockroach infestations are common.
- Certain foods: Although less common, certain foods can trigger allergic rhinitis in some individuals. Common culprits include peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, and milk.
It’s important to note that the specific triggers can vary from person to person. Some individuals may be sensitive to multiple allergens, while others may only react to one specific allergen. Identifying the triggers through allergy testing or keeping a symptom diary can help in managing allergic rhinitis effectively.