Common Types of Allergies
When someone mentions allergies, most people probably think of hay fever, also known as “Allergic Rhinitis” resulting from some foreign substance that causes sneezing, watery eyes and runny noses. These are not the only symptoms of an allergy, though, and hay fever is not the only common allergy.
Below is a list of some of the most common types of allergens that cause problems for humans, but before we go there take a few minutes to watch the video below about how to tell the difference between the common cold and hay fever or other respiratory allergy.
What Is an Allergen?
An allergen is any substance that causes an allergic response when it comes in contact with the body. This can be from ingesting it into the digestive system, inhaling it into the lungs or contact with the skin.
There are two general types of allergic responses: one causes relative minor symptoms and discomfort like the ones mentioned in the opening of this article. The more dangerous type, however, can result in “anaphylactic shock” that can result in death caused by sudden and severe changes in heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and other organ failure. The severity of the reaction depends on an individual’s predisposition to a particular allergic substance.
Here’s a list of some of the most common substances that can cause allergic reactions. This list is just a guide and isn’t meant to cover all of the many number of allergies that can affect humans. If you suspect you have developed an allergy to some substance be sure and see your doctor to determine the exact cause of your symptoms.
* Pollen is probably the allergen most people think of first. The production of pollen in plants is part of the reproductive process and is produced by numerous plants, including trees, flowers, weeds and grass. It is spread by insects such as bees that use it for food and can also be carried by the wind. Pollen is an essential part of the earth’s ecosystem but also can be a huge nuisance to those who develop seasonal or year round allergic symptoms from it.
* Dust mites are so small you can’t see them with the naked eye. Many people don’t even know they exist but in fact they are all around us. Since dust is almost impossible to eliminate totally the people that are allergic to dust mites can have a difficult time controlling their allergic symptoms. Reducing the presence of dust as much as possible in the home and avoiding dusty locations as much as possible is one way to minimize the incidence of symptoms.
* Pet dander is a common allergen. Dandruff from a pet’s skin and hair can cause itching, sneezing, runny nose and the like. If you’re allergic to pet dander but can’t do without a pet, you need to have some testing done to determine if your allergy is specific to one species of pet such as dog or cat or if it’s animal dander in general. Vacuuming the pet hair from the floor and furniture in the house is helpful in reducing pet dander allergy symptoms.
* Mold in general isn’t good for anyone to breathe in, but some people are more sensitive to it than others. Black mold is a well known health hazard but other mold varieties can form in dark, damp places like basements and bathrooms and cause allergic symptoms as well. Keep these areas as dry as possible by insuring there is good ventilation in those areas and eliminate any water leaks no matter how small.
* Food allergies seem to be on the rise. They often develop in childhood and may disappear as the child gets older. If you have them, they can be serious and can result in severe reactions so it’s important to get medical attention to determine which food is causing the problem. There are medications that can help desensitize the person to the food allergen but in many cases the easiest and most effective way to deal with a food allergy is to just eliminate the food from the diet.
* Latex is another substance that is causing allergic responses. It seems to be on the rise probably because latex is being used in more products as time passes. Those most at risk are healthcare workers and anyone who is exposed to rubber in their occupation.
If you have symptoms like frequent runny nose, water and itchy eyes, skin rashes and itching or more severe problems and can’t seem to figure out what’s going on you may have developed an allergy to some substance you’ve come in contact with.
The best thing to do is to call your doctor and get your symptoms checked out. Allergies are treatable once their cause is identified.
Watch the video below for an overview of what causes allergies and how they are treated.
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