common causes of nasal allergy and congestion

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Millions of people suffer from nasal allergy and congestion caused by exposures to agents such as dust mites, mold, pollen, and animals. Also, there are work-related agents that can cause allergic problems. Examples of these work-related agents include animal proteins, enzymes, flour, natural rubber latex, tobacco smoke, and certain chemicals.

Dust mites are tiny bugs too small to see. They can live in mattresses, blankets, stuffed toys, carpets, and curtains. The droppings of these mites are a common indoor cause of nasal allergy.

Mold loves dark, damp areas. It tends to grow in bathrooms, basements, refrigerators, and in the soil of houseplants. Mold reproduces by sending tiny grains called spores into the air. If these spores are breathed in, they can cause a nasal allergic reaction.

Plants reproduce by moving tiny grains of pollen from plant to plant. Some pollen is carried by bees and some is blown by the wind. It is the wind-blown pollen that causes nasal allergy. The amount of pollen in the air varies from season to season.

Animals such as cats, dogs, birds, horses, and rabbits are common causes of nasal allergy. Flakes of skin (dander, or dandruff), saliva left on fur when an animal cleans itself, urine in litter boxes and cages, and feathers on birds, are all substances that can cause nasal allergy.

Irritants can bother the nose and make allergy symptoms worse. Examples of irritants are cigarette smoke, perfume, aerosol sprays, smoke from wood stoves or fireplaces, car exhaust, and strong odors.