U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control
“Allergic diseases can be
controlled; symptoms can be
prevented or minimized.”
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology,
“The Allergy Report”
Did you know...?
? As many as 40 or 50 million people in the United States suffer from
? Allergies cause swollen eyes, itching skin, dripping noses, light-
headedness and even death?
What is it?
An allergy is a strong reaction by your body’s immune system to some-
thing that would normally be harmless—a food, plant, or medicine.
Common reactions include a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, or a skin rash. Severe
allergic reactions (see below) require immediate medical attention.
Many people who have allergies also have asthma. Allergic reactions may
trigger asthma attacks, where a swelling and tightening of your airways that
makes it difficult to breathe (see “Asthma” fact sheet).
Signs of Allergies and Allergic Reactions include:
? Asthma, shortness of breath, cough, chest tightness or wheezing
(See “Asthma” fact sheet)
? Itchy, watery eyes
? Itchy, inflamed or runny nose
? Hives or itchy rash on skin
? Dark circles under and around eyes
? Recurring headache
? Diarrhea or stomach cramps
? Anaphylaxis (a severe reaction) may be life-threatening. Symptoms include:
swelling, tingling in the mouth, and a red, itchy rash, as well as light-
headedness, shortness of breath, severe sneezing, stomach cramps, and
loss of blood pressure. If these symptoms are present, go immediately to
a doctor or emergency room for treatment.
continued on back
U.S. Department of Housing and
Office of Healthy Homes and
Lead Hazard Control
Types of allergies
There are many types of allergies. The following are some of the most common:
? dust mites
? citrus fruits
(like poison ivy)
trees and grass)
? pets (most often
? yellow jackets
animal skin flakes
? fish & shellfish
? latex (gloves or
What you can do
Other Federal Resources
Know your allergies, and know what to avoid. Not everyone is allergic
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
to the same things!
? Contact your doctor about any unusual reactions to food, plants,
US Environmental Protection Agency
medicines, or other items.
? Avoid contact with things you know trigger allergies.
- Avoid being outside or having the windows open when
pollen counts are high.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI)
- Read food labels carefully to avoid ingredients that cause reactions.
- Choose medicines and home-care products carefully.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
- Remove carpet or vacuum often to avoid animal dander.
? Keep a clean home (for more tips, see “Asthma” fact sheet).
The Allergy & Asthma Network: Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)
- Control pests such as mice and cockroaches.
- Vacuum floors and upholstery often and consider removing carpet.
Ask your doctor or contact your local or state department of health.
- Avoid having mold, cigarette smoke, pesticides, and chemicals inside
- Keep pets out of the bedrooms of family members who are allergic to
Keeping a clean home can reduce some allergens
? In the event of a severe allergic reaction, seek emergency medical
For more information . . .
Visit HUD’s website at www.hud.gov/offices/lead for more information
about addressing health hazards in homes or to learn if HUD has a Healthy
Homes program in your community. From this website, you can download a
copy of “Help Yourself to A Healthy Home” for more practical steps you can
take to make your home a healthy home.
1Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). The Allergy Report:
Science Based Findings on the Diagnosis & Treatment of Allergic Disorders, 1996-2001