Allergies - A Guide and Resources to Allergies

Information About Asthma and Allergies and How to Prevent Them



Allergens & Irritants

Asthma is one of our nation's most common chronic health conditions. Many substances can aggravate allergies or increase the severity of asthma symptoms in individuals who are sensitive to these allergens or irritants.

This Web site is designed to help you reduce your symptoms by providing information on asthma, allergies and some of the most common seasonal and non-seasonal allergens and asthma irritants such as:

Please remember that information contained on this Web site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be used to guide the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition without the advice and supervision of a licensed, qualified health care provider.

Free NIOSH Publications About Allergies and Asthma in the Workplace

Millions of people suffer from allergies caused by everyday exposures to agents such as dust mites, cat dander, and pollens. Agents encountered by workers can also cause allergic problems such as asthma, nasal and sinus allergies, hives, and even severe anaphylactic reactions. Examples of these work-related agents include animal proteins, enzymes, flour, natural rubber Latex, even pesticides and certain reactive chemicals, like Isocyanates. Asthma is one of the more serious problems that can be caused by work-related allergy. It can cause recurrent attacks of symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. In severe cases, these symptoms can be disabling. Fortunately, when potential hazards are recognized, work-related allergies and asthma can often be prevented or their effects minimized.

  1. Preventing Asthma and Death from MDI Exposure During Spray-on Truck Bed Liner and Related Applications
    DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-109 (September 2006)
    This Alert summarizes four case reports: one death and several incidents of asthma or other respiratory disease following exposure to MDI during spray-on truck bed lining operations.
  2. Injury and Asthma Among Youth Less Than 20 Years of Age on Minority Farm Operations in the United States, 2000 Volume II: Hispanic National Data
    DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-109 (October 2005)
    This document provides previously unavailable youth demographic, injury and asthma estimates at the national level for youth on Hispanic-operated farms in the U.S. A Hispanic is defined as any person of Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino origin.
  3. Asthma Among Household Youth on Hispanic Farm Operations
    DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-158 (June 2004)
    Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Household farm youth comprise all youth 0-19 years of age who live on the farm and include working and non-working youth. 16-19 year olds had the highest prevalence rate for having an asthma attack while doing farm work (61 asthmatics per 1,000 youth living on Hispanic farm operations).
  4. Asthma Among Household Youth on Minority Farm Operations
    DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-118 (December 2003)
    In 2000, approximately 28,600 youth lived on minority farm operations. 10-15 year olds had the highest prevalence rate of asthma. Youth less than 10 years of age had the highest prevalence rate for having an asthma attack while doing farm work.
  5. Injury and Asthma Among Youth Less Than 20 Years of Age on Minority Farm Operations in the United States, 2000; Volume I: Racial Minority National Data
    DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-147 (July 2005)
    This document provides previously unavailable youth demographic, injury and asthma estimates at the national level for youth on racial minority operated farms in the United States. These data represent the initial step in developing research and prevention programs to reduce the burden of injury and asthma on racial minority farms in the United States.
  6. National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)
    Asthma & Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  7. Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace
    DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-135 (June 1997)
    En Español
    NIOSH Alert: Workers exposed to latex gloves and other products containing natural rubber latex may develop allergic reactions such as skin rashes; hives; nasal, eye, or sinus symptoms; asthma; and (rarely) shock.
  8. Preventing Asthma and Death from Diisocyanate Exposure
    DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-111 (1996)
    En Español
    NIOSH Alert: Workers exposed to diisocyanates may develop serious or fatal respiratory disease.
  9. Preventing Asthma in Animal Handlers
    DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-116 (January 1998)
    En Español
    Exposure to animals or animal products in the workplace can cause asthma and allergies.
  10. Workplace Exacerbation of Asthma a Research Priority: NIOSH Leads Research on Workplace Exacerbation of Asthma
    NIOSH is expanding partnerships and research to address emerging concerns about workplace exacerbation of asthma. This includes six articles in peer-reviewed journals, a textbook chapter, and ongoing discussions with partners about a possible international collaborative study and the development of preventive strategies.

For information on other pulmonary research performed at NIEHS, visit the Division of Intramural Reseach Laboratory of Respiratory Biology and the Division of Extramural Research and Training Translational Research sites.


Other Asthma and Allergy Resources

  • Allergy and Asthma Network, Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)
    AANMA, a national nonprofit network of families, offers information about living with allergies and asthma ...more
  • Alliance of Community Health Plans
  • Allies Against Asthma
  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
  • American Association of Health Plans
  • American Lung Association's Asthma Site
    ALA provides information about asthma and older people, teens and asthma, asthma medicines and attacks, peak flow meters, and home control of allergies and asthma.
  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
    AAFA provides information about asthma and allergy education, advocacy, and research ...more
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
    A new publication from ASTHO’s Environmental Health program is a case study on using educational data for asthma surveillance. The case study titled, "Tracking Childhood Asthma with School Data in Three States," features asthma surveillance programs that have incorporated school-based data into their work. States included in the case study are Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts. The case study is available online at http://www.astho.org/pubs/
    TrackingChildhoodAsthmawithSchoolDataFeb.2006-final.pdf
    [PDF, 96 Kb] [external link]
  • Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS)
    CHCS directs national programs on behalf of two major health care philanthropies: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
  • Institute of Medicine
  • National Association of State Boards of Education
  • National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
    NCSL is a bipartisan, national forum for state lawmakers to communicate with one another and to share ideas on various topics, including asthma.
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    NIAID provides support for scientists conducting research aimed at developing better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent asthma ...more
  • National Library of Medicine (NLM)
    NLM, the largest online medical library, provides health information, library services, research programs, and general information related to topics such as asthma ...more
  • PBS Kid's Asthma Tips
    This site helps children learn what asthma is, what can trigger asthma attacks, and how to stay active and healthy if they have asthma ...more
  • Quest for the Code: An Adventure Game About Managing Asthma for Children
    This site provides information on a free CD-ROM created to help children ages 7 to 15 learn how to manage their asthma ...more
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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    This page was updated on 30-Mar-2016