Allergies are among the most common chronic conditions worldwide. Allergy symptoms range from making you miserable to putting you at risk for life-threatening reactions.
According to the leading experts in allergy, an allergic reaction begins in the immune system. Our immune system protects us from invading organisms that can cause illness. If you have an allergy, your immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance as an invader. This substance is called an allergen. The immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction typically triggers symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin. For some people, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma. In the most serious cases, a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-LAK-sis) can occur.
Drug allergy: A drug allergy is the abnormal reaction of your immune system to a medication. Any medication — over-the-counter, prescription or herbal — is capable of inducing a drug allergy. However, a drug allergy is more likely with certain medications. The most common signs and symptoms of drug allergy are hives, rash or fever. A drug allergy may cause serious reactions, including a life-threatening condition that affects multiple body systems (anaphylaxis). A drug allergy is not the same as a drug side effect, a known possible reaction listed on a drug label. A drug allergy is also different from drug toxicity caused by an overdose of medication.
Food allergies: A food allergy is a condition in which certain foods trigger an abnormal immune response (2Trusted Source). It's caused by your immune system wrongly recognizing some of the proteins in a food as harmful. Your body then launches a range of protective measures, including releasing chemicals like histamine, which causes inflammation. For people who have a food allergy, even exposure to very small amounts of the problem food can cause an allergic reaction.
Here are the most common food trigger allergies:
|Cow's Milk||Eggs||Tree Nuts||Peanuts||Shellfish||Wheat||Soy|
|Fish||Linseed||Sesame seed||Peach||Banana||Avocado||Kiwi fruit|
|Passion fruit||Celery||Garlic||Mustard seeds||Aniseed||Chamomile||Aubergines|
Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. The rash isn't contagious or life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable. Many substances can cause such reactions, including soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry and plants.
Latex allergy: Some people are allergic to latex, which is found in rubber gloves and other products, such as condoms and some medical devices. Doctors don’t know what causes it. Coming in contact with latex and rubber products over and over may be part of the reason why it happens.
About 5% to 10% of health care workers have some form the allergy.
Other people who are more likely than most people to get it include those who have:
Allergic asthma: Allergic asthma is the most common form of asthma. Many of the symptoms of allergic and non-allergic asthma are the same. However, allergic asthma is triggered by inhaling allergens. An allergen is a typically harmless substance such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen or mold.
An allergy affecting the lungs can lead to asthma symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Seasonal allergies: Seasonal allergies (commonly called hay fever) are common. They occur only during certain times of the year—particularly the spring, summer, or fall—depending on what a person is allergic to. Symptoms involve primarily the membrane lining the nose, causing allergic rhinitis, or the membrane lining the eyelids and covering the whites of the eyes (conjunctiva), causing allergic conjunctivitis.
The term hay fever is somewhat misleading because symptoms do not occur only in the summer when hay is traditionally gathered and never include fever. Hay fever is usually a reaction to pollens and grasses. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and red, watery and itchy eyes.
Animal allergy: People with pet allergies have over-sensitive immune systems. They can react to harmless proteins in the pet's urine, saliva or dander (dead skin cells). The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction. The substances that cause allergicreactions are allergens.
If you experience the following symptoms after being near a dog or cat, you may have an allergy:
Anaphylaxis: Is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction. The most common anaphylactic reactions are to foods, insect stings, medications and latex. If you are allergic to a substance, your immune system overreacts to this allergen by releasing chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.
Allergy to mold: The symptoms of mold allergy are very similar to the symptoms of other allergies, such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion and dry, scaling skin.Mold spores get into your nose and cause hay fever symptoms. They also can reach the lungs and trigger asthma. Symptoms include cough, itchy, watery eyes and hives. People who have asthma may experience wheezing and difficulty breathing.
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