Allergy (What is?)

An allergy is a reaction by your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions are

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Food
  • Insect stings
  • Medicines

Normally, your immune system fights germs. It is your body's defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, it is responding to a false alarm. Genes and the environment probably both play a role.

Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling, or asthma. Allergies can range from minor to severe. Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction that can be life-threatening. Doctors use skin and blood tests to diagnose allergies. Treatments include medicines, allergy shots, and avoiding the substances that cause the reactions.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Allergy Seasons, Email alert services, online pollen counters


  • Trees - March through May
  • Grasses - Mid May through September
  • Ragweed and Other Weeds - Mid August through October

Year Round:

  • Mites
  • Dog/Cat
  • Mold Spores - Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter (Depending on How Cold)

Allergy Alert e-mail Service

Allergy Alert is a new, free e-mail notification service that automatically warns allergic children and their parents when allergy conditions in their zip codes reach uncomfortable levels. Subscribe to the email service by visiting

Daily Pollen Counters & Maps

The following are links to various pollen counters and maps on the Internet. A link to a manufacturer's site under this section does not constitute an endorsement of the manufacturer or of its products.

The National Allergy Bureau is the section of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (AAAAI) Aeroallergen Network that is responsible for reporting current pollen and mold spore levels to the media.

There is allergy education information at Pfizer's Zyrtec