What to do when what you’re allergy to isn’t seasonal
Allergic to cats, dust or pollen? That sucks, of course, but know that many itchy people feel your pain: About one in three Canadians, according to a 2010 survey. You might think your immune system needs strengthening – its job, after all, is to recognize foreign bacteria, fungi and viruses and react accordingly – but, actually, the opposite is true.
“Allergies are an inappropriate immune response to benign things in the environment,” explains Dr. Peter Vadas, head of allergy and clinical immunology at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. “Your body is reacting to something when it really shouldn’t bother.”
An overactive immune system often goes overboard with hay fever or cat dander, but take small comfort that bodies can get far odder than that. “Allergies are very broad, complex and confusing,” admits Dr. Leah Hassall, a naturopathic doctor in Victoria, BC, “but basically you can be allergic to almost anything.” Grab your tissues, here goes.