An allergy attack can be a serious matter. This article will prepare you with the knowledge you need when learning about allergy attacks. During my research, I have found that there are not many in-depth guides that contain all the information you need about allergy attacks.
So, I present to you your one-stop shop for learning the symptoms, remedies, facts, and more!
According to acaai.org, “Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion.”
I know a thing or two about allergy attacks because I have personally been “attacked” by allergies! My first attack was when I was living in Texas, which ended in a trip to the Emergency room (not fun). After that E.R. trip, I got allergy testing done, and I am allergic to everything environmental.
I hope that this information will better prepare you for allergy attacks and ultimately assist you in preventing future attacks.
As an Affiliate member, including Amazon, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
What is an Allergy Attack?
An allergy attack is your body’s reaction to a substance (allergen), resulting in an immune system response. With allergies, your immune system THINKS that substances like pollen, dander, mold and dust mites are invaders. Your body goes to “attack” these invaders resulting in allergy symptoms, or an “allergy attack”.
Symptoms of an Allergy Attack
The symptoms of an allergy attack are different for everyone. Here is a list of the most common allergy symptoms, provided by the National Health Service – UK.
Main Allergy Symptoms
- Itchy, runny, or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
- Itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Raised, itchy, red rash (hives or urticaria)
- Swollen lips, tongue, eyes, or face
- Stomach pain
- Feeling sick
- Dry, red, and/or cracked skin
Severe Allergy Attack (anaphylaxis)
Your symptoms can also take a turn for the worse. This list is of the more severe symptoms that can surface with a severe allergic reaction.
- Swelling of the throat and mouth
- Difficulty breathing
- Blue skin or lips
- Collapsing and losing consciousness
Allergic reactions can be a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Seek care promptly.
Causes of an Allergy Attack
The causes of an allergy attack is from exposure to an allergen. An allergy is your body’s nonsensical response to a substance that is usually non-threatening (i.e. allergen). The most common allergens are pollen, dust (dust mites), food, insect bites/stings, mold, animal dander, medications, perfumes, chemicals, and latex.
Causes of an Allergy Attack at Night
The cause for an allergy attack at night will be sparked by what you are allergic to. There are many allergens that may cause allergy symptoms when going to bed at night. Other factors that can lead to your symptoms being worse at night include your sleeping environment, room cleaning frequency, and hygiene practices.
Let’s review the main possible causes of an allergy attack at night.
Pollen can hide out in multiple places around your room, which can cause allergy symptoms at night. Consider taking these steps to find relief.
Keep windows closed
Open bedroom windows (or anywhere in the house) invite the pollen right in. Window screens are not dense enough to stop pollen from coming inside.
Keeping your windows closed during the pollen season may drastically decrease your allergy attacks at night.
Change your clothes
The great outdoors is where the majority of pollen comes from, when you go outside you are unknowingly picking up pollen hitchhikers in your clothes.
By changing your clothes when you get in the house, you are preventing the pollen from settling in your furniture and carpets.
Wash the pollen from your hair
Your hair can be a haven for pollen to hang out. Ensure you are rinsing your hair to wash the pollen away so you do not bring it into your bed or onto your pillow.
If you do not rid your hair of pollen, the pollen will be near your face all day long, causing you to suffer from allergy symptoms.
Allergy attacks that only occur at night might be due to dirty linens or a contaminated mattress. Wash your bedding to remove any allergens that may be trapped and consider getting a mattress cover to prevent all allergens from hanging out in your mattress.
Dust is made up of skin cells, dust mites, pollen, bacteria (and a bunch more things). When you remove the dust, you are removing allergens. When dusting, use something like a Swiffer duster which locks in the dust with static. Traditional feather dusters are not advised, they just make the dust airborne and do not remove it.
Alternatively, you can get a damp washcloth and wipe down the dusty surfaces.
If you are interested in the Swiffer route, check this one out (Amazon)!
Mold may be to blame for your allergies flaring up at night. Molds like to grow in comfortable temperatures with high humidity. This mold-growing environment is typically found in your bathroom or nearby bedroom. Here are a few tips to prevent mold from growing or spreading in your home, which could be the reason for your allergy attacks at night.
Preventing Mold Allergies
By controlling the moisture, you control the mold! Take the steps needed to stop mold growth.
- Use the bathroom vent fan when you are showering
- Find the source of any water leaks and stop them
- Use a dehumidifier if your humidity is over 60% (EPA.gov)
This dehumidifier is currently the “top dog” on Amazon, and can dehumidify up to 3,000 sq feet!
The American Lung Association defines dust mites as, “Dust mites are microscopic, insect-like pests that feed on dead human skin cells and thrive in warm, humid environments.”
The dust mites themselves are harmless, if you have an allergy to dust mites you are reacting to their feces (poo), urine, or decaying bodies. This reaction is caused by the inhalation of one of those three.
Dust mites like soft fluffy areas like your mattress or stuffed animals, which is why you may have an allergic reaction at night. To reduce dust mite allergies consider the following:
Preventing Dust Mite Allergies
- Lower humidity levels (dehumidifier)
- Minimize clutter that collects dust
- Wash bedding in hot (130F+) water weekly
- Wash or get rid of curtains
- Replace carpet
- Remove rugs
- Dust often (wear a mask)
- Use a mattress/box spring protector
- Use a HEPA air filter/Air purifier
- Replace your HVAC system filter
The AAFA explains that there are no truly hypoallergenic pets, as the dander is a protein in your pet’s saliva, urine, and on their skin.
Pet fur can also bring pollen, dust, mold spores, and other allergens into the house from the outdoors.
Tips for reducing dander
- Keep pets out of the bedroom
- Wash your pet often to remove stuck allergens
- Clean your bedding
- Clean or replace carpets (hard floors recommended)
- Remove rugs
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
- Wear a mask when cleaning/dusting
- Replace the HVAC system filter
Use an Air purifier: Bye-Bye Airborne Allergens
Air purifiers use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter which removes 99.97% of all airborne contaminants including allergens that cause allergy attacks. You will need to dust your home less often, and you will be breathing healthy air the first day you set up your air purifier!
What an Air Purifier Removes
- Dust mites
- Any airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger
Air Purifier with a Carbon Filter Removes
- All of the above
- Violent Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Air fresheners
- Cleaning products
- Personal care products
- Fuel oil
- Other materials that “off-gas”
Our family has been using the same air purifier for years now, you can get more information on it here. WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier Review
VOCs in your household cleaner
Learning that your cleaning products contain VOCs, you might be looking to make a switch to a healthier cleaner. Our family did the same. We switched to the Force of Nature Cleaner and is all we have used for 3 years strong.
Force of Nature Cleaner has no VOCs, its pet and baby-safe, made at home, and disinfects. Check it out here: 20 Reasons Force of Nature Cleaner is Legit
Seasonal Allergy Attacks
Are you noticing that your allergy attacks are showing up seasonally? Here are the possible causes of allergies by season.
- Tree pollen
- Tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Grass pollen
- Weed pollen
I have a full article on summer allergies that you can check out, Summer Allergy Treatment & Prevention Options
Year-round allergies are something I am no stranger to. I am allergic to so many different things, that I have allergies all year. You might be in the same boat as well, and here are some possible causes.
Potential Causes of allergies all year
- Food Allergies
- Pet/Dander allergies
- Insect stings or bites
- Dust allergies
- Two or more “seasonal allergens” (i.e. pollen & mold)
Allergy Attack After Exercise
An allergy attack may be sparked by working out, this is rare, but still possible. There is a condition called Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis (EIA), where you will develop allergy symptoms during an exercise or hours after.
This condition can become life-threatening and should be taken seriously. According to the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, this condition is food-related 30-50% of the time. What this means is depending on what you ate before working out, may play a role in whether you experience EIA or exercise-induced allergies.
How can I stop an allergy attack fast?
Allergy attacks can leave us with miserable symptoms that we want to get rid of fast. Here are some pointers to think about when stopping allergy symptoms.
- Remove yourself from the allergen
- Get the allergen off of you (shower, change clothes)
- Use a saline nasal rinse
- Try an antihistamine
*If you are experiencing more severe symptoms (anaphylactic symptoms) you need to seek medical treatment.*
Once your allergy attack is under control, consider using more long-term fixes to prevent future allergy attacks. Some examples of this would be to use an air purifier, vacuum, dust, and clean often.
How long does an allergy attack last?
An allergy attack can last minutes to years, as an allergy attack may continue until you are no longer exposed to the allergen.
You have a dander allergy and go to a friend’s house who has dogs. When you walk through the door your allergy symptoms start to flare up. At this point, you may turn around and go outside so your symptoms don’t get worse. You notice that when you are outside your symptoms are getting better. This allergy attack may have lasted 5 minutes.
Instead of turning around and going outside (example 1), you decide to stay with your friend for 3 weeks. It is safe to assume that your allergy attack will continue for those 3 weeks.
Allergy Attack home remedies
The NHS has compiled a list of self-help, allergy attack home remedies. Here are some home remedies that can help with an allergy attack.
- Cleaning nasal passages (nasal rinse)
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots) [
Additional Remedies to Consider
- Take care of yourself (exercise, diet, rest)
- Stay hydrated
- Look into acupuncture