The number of people with allergies all over the world is growing and it is estimated that 50 million people experience various types of allergies each year in the US alone.
Together with this growth is the rise of anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction that is life-threatening, but how much do we know about allergies and how seriously do we see it when we say it can be life-threatening?
What is an allergy?
Allergy is the reaction of the immune system to substances in the environment that are mostly harmless to most people and these substances are called allergens. Allergens can vary from food, insect, medication, pet hair, pollen and many more. Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for allergy at present and the tendency to develop an allergic disease can be through genetics or inherited (atopy).
Types of allergies and its symptoms
If you know someone with allergies, you might’ve seen them sneezing, itching, or having red and watery eyes. If you ever wondered what’s causing these reactions, we’ve listed the most commonly known allergies and their allergens below.
Drug reaction usually is not considered as an allergic reaction but side effects of properties of the medicine. Any prescription like Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Penicillin, and even herbal medication can trigger a reaction. The most common signs and symptoms of drug allergy are hives, rash, or fever.
People with food allergies are allergic to a wide range of foods but the most common food that triggers this type of allergy are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, wheat, soy, and egg. Symptoms include swelling of face, lips, and eyes, hives or welts on the skin, and abdominal pain and vomiting.
Stinging insects such as bees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, and fire ants are the most common to cause reactions. Non-stinging insects like ticks, cockroaches, and dust mites are very known to do as such. Tick bites can lead to food allergies such as red meat and gelatin. Symptoms are hives, swelling of face, lips, and eyes, and drop in blood pressure that leads to anaphylaxis.
Allergy to natural rubber is one serious health risk that we tend to underestimate but can rarely be fatal. Natural rubber-like latex gloves, balloons, and condoms are the most common allergens. Common symptoms are rashes, hives, runny nose, dry and scaly skin, itchy eyes and wheezing.
These are fungi that are present in our home and causes reaction year-round. Mold and mildew are the most common allergen. Symptoms are sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, cough or postnasal drip, itchy eyes, nose, throat, and dry skin.
Common allergens are pet fur or hair. Based on studies, there is no such thing as hypoallergenic dog or cat so we need to be extra careful before considering to get one. Symptoms are sneezing, facial pain from nasal congestion, chest tightness, cough, skin rash, and hives.
Also referred to as seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever and its common triggers are pollens from trees, grass, and flowers. Symptoms are sinus pressure, nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, scratchy throat, and bluish swollen skin under the eyes.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (http://www.aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx)
Ascia ( https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/about-allergy/what-is-allergy )
Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20371835)
Webmd ( https://www.webmd.com/allergies/latex-allergy-faq, https://www.webmd.com/allergies/video/what-is-anaphylaxis, https://www.webmd.com/allergies/video/video-allergy-or-anaphylaxis)
American Academy of Allergy and Asthma Immunology AAAAI (https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/anaphylaxis)