There are many ways that you can suffer from an allergic reaction. Many people worldwide suffer from various types of allergies, with symptoms varying from severe to moderate or mild. However, all agree that allergies are inconvenient, especially when you are unaware of your allergies.

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts by producing antibodies to fight foreign substances it deems harmful, even though, in truth, it isn’t. You can be exposed to an allergen through insect sting, touch, inhalation, and consumption.

Allergies range from pollen to pet dander to a bee sting. When exposed to an allergen, your immune system produces antibodies to fight off these substances it deems “harmful.” Since these antibodies have nothing to fight off, they cause inflammation, among other allergy symptoms.

When exposed to an allergen, your immune system can cause inflammation of the sinuses, skin, airways, or digestive systems. The severity of allergy symptoms varies from one person to the next. However, anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening emergency, can occur. While allergies can’t be entirely treated, you can take medication to reduce inflammation.

Various items can cause allergic reactions. We’ll divide these into groups. They include:

Food

Food allergies affect 4-6% of children and 4% of adults {1}. Fortunately, most children outgrow their allergies. A food allergy occurs when the immune system responds to something you’ve consumed. This causes symptoms like hives, anaphylaxis, or digestive problems soon after consumption.

The symptoms’ severity differs between different people. While some individuals may feel uncomfortable, others may experience severe symptoms that require immediate care. This is mainly witnessed in nuts and seafood allergies. However, any food can cause it.

Food allergy symptoms often develop within a few minutes to two hours of eating the offending food. It is rare for food allergy symptoms to delay for more than 2 hours. The most common food allergy symptoms include:

  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
  • Tingling or itching in the mouth
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Hives, itching or eczema
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat, or other parts of the body

Even though you can develop an allergic reaction to any food, the most common food allergies include the following:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Shellfish like shrimp, lobster and crab
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts, such as walnuts and pecans
  • Fish

Oral allergy syndrome or pollen food allergy syndrome affects many people with hay fever. This condition causes one to develop allergy symptoms after consuming certain fresh fruits, nuts, spices, and vegetables.

This reaction often causes the mouth to tingle or itch. In some severe cases, it can result in anaphylaxis, swelling, or the throat. This reaction occurs because those fruits, vegetables or nuts have proteins similar to those in other allergen-causing foods. This is known as cross-reactivity.

These symptoms often occur when you eat fresh and uncooked fruits, nuts, vegetables, and spices. However, when these foods are cooked, these symptoms could be less severe or non-existent. An Allergy Test can help you check for all existent food allergies in your body.

Oral allergy syndrome occurs depending on the pollen you’re allergic to. For example, suppose you have a birch pollen allergy; you can also react to almonds, apples, apricot, carrot, celery, cherry, hazelnut, peach, peanut, pear, plums, raw potatoes, soybean, and some herbs and spices (anise, caraway seed, coriander, fennel, parsley, anise, black pepper,).

If you suffer from ragweed pollen allergy, you may react to bananas, cucumber, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon), and zucchini. Grass pollen allergy can cause a reaction to kiwi, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon), orange, peanut, tomatoes, white potatoes, and zucchini.

Mugwort pollen allergy can cause a reaction to apples, bell pepper, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, garlic, onion, peach, and some herbs and spices ( caraway seed, coriander, fennel, mustard, parsley).

In rare cases, one can also have an exercise-induced food allergy. Due to the consumption of certain foods, you may feel lightheaded or even itchy soon after you start exercising. It is advisable to avoid eating for a couple of hours before exercising to prevent such issues.

Pets

A woman with a pet allergy

Pet allergy is an immune reaction to animal skin cells, saliva, and urine protein. Most people with a pet allergy are triggered by dead skin cells (dander) that pets often shed around their homes.

Pet allergy symptoms are similar to those of hay fever, but they can also trigger asthma symptoms. Pet allergy causes inflammation in the nasal passages. Common symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Swollen, blue-coloured skin under your eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, the roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Frequent upward rubbing of the nose in children

If pet allergy leads to asthma, you notice symptoms like:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Chest tightness or pain

Some people can also experience skin symptoms after contacting a pet or their proteins. This condition is also called allergic dermatitis, which causes skin inflammation. These include eczema, itchy skin, or raised red skin patches (hives).

Drugs

A drug allergy is a condition in which your immune system reacts to any drug or medicine. This could be prescription, non-prescription or herbal. A drug allergy differs from a drug side effect, which can cause severe, even life-threatening reactions.

You’ll notice symptoms within an hour after taking a drug containing an allergen. However, other symptoms like rashes can come on later. This could be hours, days, or weeks after the initial trigger.

Common drug allergy symptoms include:

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itching
  • Fever
  • Itchy, watery eyes

Pollen

Trees, flowers, grasses, and weeds produce pollen (a fine powder) to fertilise plants of the same species. Many people experience issues when they breathe in the pollen of various plants.

Pollen allergy causes allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. Pollen allergy results in cold-like symptoms that last as long as you’re exposed to the allergen. Pollen allergy affects people only during their pollination season.

For example, if you’re allergic to ragweed pollen, you’ll only experience pollen allergy symptoms when it’s the time of the year for ragweed to pollinate. However, if you’re in a warm area that doesn’t experience seasons, you’ll likely experience pollen allergies more frequently. Pollination season is also known as hay fever season.

Common pollen allergy symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Swollen, bluish skin beneath the eyes
  • Cough
  • Sinus pressure, which may cause facial pain
  • Runny nose

Mould

Mould produces spores the same way other plants produce pollen. If you have a mould allergy, breathing in these spores will cause your immune system to flare up, resulting in allergy symptoms. Mould spores can also cause asthma attacks resulting in restricted breathing, among other symptoms.

Unlike pollen, you can experience mould allergies any time of the year because mould can grow indoors and produce spores triggering your allergies to flare up. Symptoms vary from person to person. However, if you suffer from asthma and mould allergy, expect mould spores to trigger asthma symptoms.

Mold allergy symtoms inlcude:

  • Sneezing
  • Cough and postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry, scaly skin

Insects

Just like all other types of allergies, insect bites or stings can cause severe symptoms. In the case of an insect allergy, you’re reacting to the venom, waste, or fluid from an insect.

When you have an insect allergy, exposure to its fluids or waste causes your immune system to produce antibodies to protect your body, thus causing allergy symptoms. Different insects cause insect allergies in varying ways.

Wasps, bees, hornets, and fire ants sting. Insects that bite include mosquitoes, fleas, bedbugs, and horseflies. Alternatively, insects whose bodies or waste you can easily interact with at home include cockroaches, dust mites, and small flies.

Common symptoms experienced from insect allergy include:

  • Hives, rashes, swelling and persistent itching.
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and vomiting

Latex

Rubber tree produces latex which causes allergic reactions in some people whose bodies mistakes the protein in this rubber for a harmful substance. If you’re allergic to latex, you can get exposed to it by touching balloons or gloves.

Breathing in latex particles is also possible when someone takes off latex gloves. The severity of latex allergy allergies between individuals, your sensitivity to latex, or the amount of latex you inhale or touch. The more you expose yourself to latex, the worse the symptoms get.

Common latex allergy symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Skin redness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Hives or rash
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Cough

Allergy testing

Our Allergy Test

All the above items can cause allergy symptoms ranging from mild to severe. It is crucial to notice allergy symptoms so you can further have a clue as to what’s causing your allergy symptoms. However, this can be hard to achieve.

Getting an Allergy Test will help you understand what’s causing allergy symptoms, be it environmental, drugs, animals, or food. Once you know what your allergies are, you need to avoid that allergen so you can stay symptoms free.

 

References

  1. ACCAI. Food Allergy. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/