After moving into a new home – oftentimes in a different state altogether, you could develop an allergy or allergies in that destination place even if you have never suffered from an allergy before.
In fact, there are several reasons why moving to a new place may trigger an allergy of some sort. The pollen count in the air can be much higher than in the area you had to leave.
Or maybe the house you just moved into has mold problems and you happen to be allergic to those mold spores without even realizing it.
The major problem is that a newly-developed allergy after moving will definitely decrease the quality of your post-relocation life. In some more serious cases, an allergy may even prove to be life-threatening.
Therefore, you should never underestimate allergies after moving house. Instead, you should take them seriously and handle them in the best possible way before things start to go haywire.
Read on to learn what to do about allergies after moving.
What’s an allergy?
An allergy occurs when your immune system overreacts to certain allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mold, pet dander, or some types of foods.
An allergy is a safety mechanism that is supposed to keep you safe from harmful substances. The problem, however, is that those foreign invaders are not dangerous – your immune system only “thinks” that they are.
As a result, your body begins to produce antibodies to fight those allergens each time you come into contact with them. And all this, as you may have guessed, leads to inflammation (anywhere from slight to severe) in your lungs and nasal passages.
Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and they all have something in common – they decrease the overall quality of life of all allergy sufferers.
What are the most common allergy symptoms?
So, if you notice any of these common allergy symptoms, then you may have developed an allergy after the house move is complete and you find yourself in the destination area.
The most frequent allergy symptoms are:
- stuffed nose,
- runny nose,
- irritated (itchy) eyes,
- watery eyes,
- sore throat,
- sinus infections,
- breathing problems, and
- skin rashes.
If you get to experience any of these allergy symptoms for a prolonged period of time after the move, then you may have developed a post-relocation allergy to a specific allergen and the only way to know for sure is to consult with an allergist and get tested for allergies.
Which are the most common allergens?
One thing you do know – you know that you’re not feeling well after the move. What you probably don’t know is what exactly makes you sick.
In such situations, it’s helpful to be more informed about the most frequent types of allergens that can trigger an overreaction by the immune system.
Here are the most common allergens you can come across in the destination area:
The most common allergen of them all is seasonal pollen.
Pollen-producing plants are practically everywhere (much more common in rural places, of course) and it’s hard to stay perfectly protected from all the billions and billions of pollen grains that start to dance in the air during pollen season – spring and summer.
Tree pollen and grass pollen tend to have their peaks in the spring, so your allergy symptoms may be more severe from March through May. However, weed pollen, and especially ragweed pollen, is active later – anywhere from mid-July to early September since ragweed blooms in August.
The thing is that it’s almost impossible to escape seasonal pollen – you won’t be safe even if you have just moved to a big city. Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, pollen is super light and winds can carry the tiny grains over great distances, especially when it comes to ragweed pollen.
Another common allergen is dust mites – microorganisms that live in the house dust. They are impossible to see with the naked eye and they feed on skin cells that we humans shed while living inside our homes.
You won’t be able to tell that you’re allergic to dust mites after moving into a new home unless an allergy test determines it. This is because the allergic symptoms are identical to the ones caused by hay fever – most often, sneezing, a runny nose, and sometimes even breathing problems.
Another strong allergen that may be responsible for your state of misery after moving to a new house is mold.
Similar to dust mites, mold spores are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Depending on the type of mold that’s problematic and its concentration, you may be having mold allergy symptoms either during certain periods of the year or all the time.
If you happen to be allergic to mold spores, your immune system will recognize the particles as harmful (which they can be) and will start producing antibodies to fight them. As a result, you’ll continue to cough, sneeze, rub your red eyes, and blow your nose on a regular basis.
The good news here is that you may be able to find the cause of those mold spores in the new home and fix the problem, or have it fixed by professionals. Look for moldy areas in the bathroom and kitchen (under the sink and behind the fridge) simply because mold thrives in dark and damp places.
Although it’s unlikely to find out that you have an allergy to a pet after moving to a new place, it’s still theoretically possible to happen, especially if you decide to get a pet for the new home.
Pet allergies are due to allergic reactions to some types of proteins found in the skin cells, saliva, or urine of pet animals. Most often, pet allergies are associated with dogs, cats, and birds, but other pet animals can also be the source of the above-mentioned allergens.
An allergic reaction toward a pet animal is also referred to as pet dander. Dander is the dead skin flakes that pets shed and that often prove to be the allergen that’s responsible for the incorrect response of the immune system.
Top 3 things you can do about allergies after moving
Even if it turns out that your allergy symptoms are relatively mild, you don’t have to put up with being miserable all the time in the place you just moved to. Luckily, there are a few actions you can take in order to find a good permanent solution to your allergic symptoms before you even think about having to move again.
Here’s what you should do if you show worrisome signs of developing allergies after moving to a new house, often located in a new state.
1. Have your allergy tested
You don’t have to put up with feeling miserable after the move. If any of the allergy symptoms above persists, your best course of action is to see a specialist (an allergist) in order to figure out what you’re allergic to.
There are allergens in the new place that trigger an allergic reaction in your body and you just have to know the culprit for your misery so that you can do something about it.
Make an appointment with an allergist and have an allergy test – the only way to know for sure which allergen you’re allergic to – seasonal pollen (tree, grass, or weed), house dust, mold, or pets. Or it could be something else that causes your immune system to go into overdrive.
2. Consider an allergy immunotherapy
The specialist you see about your post-relocation allergy may recommend immunotherapy – a special treatment course that can alleviate or eliminate your allergy with a long-term effect.
Immunotherapy sounds like a complicated medical procedure but it’s not. In reality, the treatment consists of you getting allergy injections with controlled amounts of the allergen or group of allergens that cause your allergic reactions. This is done over a long period of time so that your immune system learns how to deal with those specific allergens without overreacting.
Immunotherapy may prove to be the perfect long-term solution for your allergy – you will start feeling much better in the new place (won’t need to potentially move away again) and you won’t need to spend any money on any allergy medications.
3. Try to eliminate the cause of the allergy
What should you do about your allergies after moving?
Well, it depends on the specific allergen that troubles you.
- Pollen. You may choose to move to another part of the country (again!) if your hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) is just too strong in the area you are in right now and you can’t seem to handle the seasonal allergy properly. While there are no entirely hypoallergenic places in the country, there are still areas with much less pollen count in the air – for example, areas near large bodies of water. Before you decide to move again, do thorough research about the distribution of the concrete type of pollen you’re allergic to.
- Mold. Do your best to get rid of the mold in the house or apartment you just moved to if it turns out that you’re allergic to mold. If you’re a renter, discuss the issue with your landlord – hiring professionals to eliminate any existence of mold in the home is usually the best thing to do.
Dust mites. Take steps to reduce the dust in the new place – something that can help keep your allergic reaction under control. Moving to areas with an arid climate can also help since dust mites thrive in humid environments.
- Pets. If it turns out that you’re allergic to a pet that you got after moving to a new house, then you may be forced to part ways with that pet animal. That would be very unfortunate but it might be the only way to cope with allergies after moving.
While developing allergies after moving to a new house or after moving to a new state is a real possibility, the good news is that there are proven ways to fight those allergic reactions.
Figure out which allergens cause your discomfort and misery, then take steps toward eliminating the cause of the allergies or undergo immunotherapy, if possible.
If nothing seems to work, then you may have to move house again.
Will moving help your allergies? You’re the only one who knows the correct answer.