Nearly 20% of Americans suffer from allergies. Allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system where the body’s defenses react to a usually harmless substance in the environment, such as pollen, animal dander, or food. Almost anything can trigger an allergic reaction, which can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening.
Here are 10 of the most common triggers.
Exposure to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds can trigger hay fever or seasonal allergies. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy, watery eyes.
Proteins secreted by oil glands in an animal’s skin and present in their saliva can cause allergic reactions for some. The allergy can take two or more years to develop and symptoms may not subside until months after ending contact with the animal.
Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in house dust. They thrive in areas of high humidity and feed on the dead skin cells of humans and their pets, as well as on pollen, bacteria, and fungi.
People who are allergic to stings can have a severe or even life-threatening reaction. Symptoms include extensive swelling and redness from the sting or bite that may last a week or more, nausea, fatigue, and low-grade fever.
Molds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mold (magnified here) or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. There are many types of mold; all need moisture to grow.
Milk, shellfish, nuts and wheat are among the most common foods that cause allergies. An allergic reaction usually occurs within minutes of eating the offending food.
Latex in gloves, condoms, and certain medical devices can trigger latex allergy. Symptoms include skin rash, eye irritation, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, and itching of the skin or nose.
Symptoms of allergies to medications, such as penicillin or aspirin, can range from mild to life-threatening and can include hives, itchy eyes, congestion, and swelling in the mouth and throat.
For more information about allergies, call us at 480.981.3000 to schedule an appointment.