You never run out of antihistamine medications in your medicine cabinet…

You have banned seafood, peanuts, and other allergy-causing foods from entering your kitchen…

You refuse to accept beautiful flowers from your significant other on Valentine’s Day…

No matter how cute they are, you also try to keep a distance from your neighbor’s furry cats…

Dusty rooms scare the hell out of you more than dark, haunted rooms…

You can relate to most of these things if you’re suffering from allergies. You know very well the things that can take you to an endless horrific state of making your eyes watery and sneezing your lungs out. But aside from these known irritants, do you know that there are a lot of ways you could be triggering your allergies? And there’s a great chance you’re not aware of them.

1. You drink wine

Sipping a chilled glass of red wine after a long day may help you unwind, but it won’t do any good if you have allergies. Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means it opens (dilates) blood vessels, and can cause stuffy, runny nose. When it comes to alcoholic drinks, wine (especially red wine) is the worst offender since it has sulfites, cadaverines, and histamines produced during the fermentation process, which can cause allergy reaction in some people.

2. You don’t clean your vegetable drawer

Flowers aren’t the only plants that make you sneeze. Some fruits and vegetables also contain proteins similar to the ones found in pollen, which can aggravate your sinuses and cause seasonal allergies. Aside from distinguishing the specific produce that triggers your allergic reactions, make sure your vegetable bin is cleaned regularly to flush out plant-derived allergens.

3. You hang out with smokers

Cigarettes are a known trigger for folks with sensitive sinuses and other respiratory issues. Not a smoker? Great. But if your friends, colleagues, and the strangers near your workplace smoke, chances are you’re also getting the harmful particles in tobacco smoke. If you come to think about it, you inhale the smoke they exhale and this is more dangerous than puffing a cigarette yourself.
Don’t hang out very long with smokers. Also, wear a protective face mask when immersing yourself in a polluted, smoke-filled environment. Don’t mind the stares.

4. You exercise outdoors every morning

Let’s make it clear – exercise is not bad for you. But if you have allergies, you might want to refrain from exercising outdoors especially in the morning. Pollen counts are also usually highest before noon, and you could inhale them if you’ve been running on trails and pollen-heavy areas.

5. You wear contact lenses all the time

It’s easy for pollen and dust mites to stick to your contacts, worsening your eye itchiness and puffiness. Switch to eyeglasses or disposables every once in a while, especially on high-pollen days.

6. You skip showering at night

Pollen and other allergens stick to your hair and clothing. Since you’re a busy adult, you could be accumulating tons of irritants by the end of the day. You have to shower to get rid of them, change clothes, and wash your favorite pair of jeans regularly (which I think you’re probably wearing for weeks now) to prevent longer exposure to allergens.

7. You don’t wash your bedding

Aside from clothes, dust mites also collect in your bedding and you could easily inhale them, triggering allergies and asthma while you sleep. Board-certified allergist Dr. Neeta Ogden recommends that you should be washing your bedding in hot water (greater than 130 °F) weekly to minimize allergens.

8. You’re obsessed with decongestants

You reach for your ever-reliable decongestant nasal sprays every time you can’t breathe. But you know what they say – everything, when taken in excess, is not good for you.
Dr. Amber Luong, an associate professor at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, says that if you use decongestants longer than the recommended 3 to 5 days, they can cause a rebound effect, which can make you feel more congested and worsen your symptoms. Luong suggests combining a nasal steroid spray (which reduces swelling) with an antihistamine (which fights allergies).

9. You love swimming in chlorinated pools

The offender here is chlorine. While it works well in keeping the pool clean by killing harmful contaminants, the strong disinfectant can dry out your hair and skin, and aggravate your eyes. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology also suggests chlorine can irritate and sensitize your respiratory tract, especially when immersing yourself in indoor pools. Exposure to chlorinated pools may lead to intensified allergy symptoms like coughing, congestion, itchy skin and eyes, and worsening of asthma.

However, you don’t have to avoid the pool. You just have to wear protective swimming gears like swim caps, quality swim suits, and goggles. You should also shower thoroughly before and after swimming.

Author Bio: Despite her busy daily routine, Carmina Natividad still manages to find time for a little self-pampering. Aside from hitting the pool during the weekends, she also finds interest in writing articles focused on health and wellness. She is now one of the writers for Swimprint, a go-to shop for swimming enthusiasts in the UK.