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Allergies That Irritate Your Chest

By Whitney Hopler ; Updated August 14, 2017

Chest irritation from allergies can manifest in many ways, from coughing and wheezing to chest tightness and shortness of breath. Allergies happen when the immune system makes antibodies that identify a foreign substance as something harmful – even when it isn’t – which signals the body to release chemicals called histamines that can irritate the chest. Several types of airborne allergies commonly lead people to suffer from some form of chest irritation.

Pollen Allergies

Pollen produced by plants can trigger allergies that irritate the chest after people breathe the pollen in from the air outside. People with pollen allergies can minimize their exposure to pollen to try to reduce the chest irritation they experience when they encounter pollen. The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding outdoor activities and closing windows and doors during times when pollen counts are high, wearing a dust mask when doing outside chores, removing clothes and taking a shower after returning indoors from being outside, and using an air conditioning system to filter some pollen out of the air that’s circulated at home.

Dust Mite Allergies

Allergies to dust mites can also cause chest irritation. Dust mites are microscopic bugs related to spiders that love to eat flakes of human skin that’s shed and trapped in places such as carpeting, bed linens, and upholstered furniture. When people inhale dust mites, the Mayo Clinic reports, the airways in their lungs inside their chests can become inflamed, constricted, or both. So the Mayo Clinic suggests that people who suffer chest irritation from dust mites try to reduce the amount of dust mites in their homes by washing bedding such as sheets and pillowcases in hot water every week, encasing pillows and mattresses in vinyl or tight fabric covers that block dust mites from accessing them, dusting and vacuuming regularly, and keeping the home’s humidity between 30 and 50 percent.

Pet Allergies

Pets can bring lots of joy into the lives of their owners, but they can also bring chest irritation symptoms like difficulty breathing to those who are allergic to them. People can suffer allergic reactions to substances in pets’ hair, saliva, urine, and the dander from their skin, reports the Mayo Clinic. Pets that have fur—such as dogs, cats, rabbits and rodents like guinea pigs and hamsters—are most likely to trigger allergies that can lead to chest irritation, the Mayo Clinic says. So people with pet allergies may consider other types of pets such as birds and fish instead.

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