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Your Environment. Your Health.

Allergy and Asthma

A summary of the various asthma research programs at NIEHS designed to:

  • develop strategies for prevention and intervention
  • assess the exposure to indoor allergens
  • study the genetics and pathogenesis of asthma


A small girl covering her lower face with her sleeve

Allergy Prevention

The best way to prevent an allergy is to recognize that you have one (see Signs of an Allergy below). Often people confuse an allergy with a cold or flu. Remember colds are short-lived and passed from person to person, whereas allergies are immune system reactions to normally harmless substances. Allergies are best prevented by avoiding exposure to allergens in the first place. A good first step to avoiding allergens is to follow the various PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES outlined for each allergen or irritant.


Signs of an Allergy

  • Sneezing, watery eyes or cold symptoms that last more than 10 days without a fever.
  • Repeated ear and sinus infections.
  • Loss of smell or taste.
  • Frequent throat clearing, hoarseness, coughing or wheezing.
  • Dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses (allergic shines).
  • A crease just above the tip of the nose from constant upward nose wiping (allergic salute).

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