When it comes to allergies, most people focus solely on seasonal ones, the kind caused by pollen that makes your nose runny and your eyes itch. Allergies, though, get triggered by different things and not all symptoms manifest in the same way. From food allergies to pet allergies, determining the source of your symptoms can feel daunting.
Besides using an at-home allergy testing kit to discover your unique triggers, reviewing a list of the seven most common allergies is a great place to start. The more you know about the various types of allergies and their symptoms, the more you can recognize the signs and seek the correct treatment.
1. Food Allergy
Food allergies occur when your immune system mistakes the compounds in something you eat as harmful. These types of allergen trigger an allergic reaction with a range of mild to severe symptoms, including:
- Itchy tongue or mouth
- Swelling of the face, mouth, or throat
- Anaphylactic shock (a rare, severe reaction)
In the United States, the most common food allergies are peanuts, milk, tree nuts, wheat, and shellfish.
Typically, someone discovers a food allergy at a young age, but it can happen later in life, too. Even if you’ve enjoyed a particular food for years, you may suddenly develop a reaction to it. If you experience any of the above symptoms after eating, it’s important to take them seriously and seek medical attention immediately.
2. Pet Allergy
A dog or cat is a wonderful companion for many homes. Yet the proteins found in their urine, saliva, and dander can trigger an allergic reaction in some owners. In the United States, up to 30% of the population experiences allergy symptoms from dogs, cats, or other furry animals.
Symptoms of pet allergies include:
- Skin reactions
- Stuffy nose
- Red or watery eyes
- Wheezing or coughing
Because the proteins and dander from animals are so small, they can cling to furniture, walls, and clothing for several months. When they enter your nose or eyes, you may experience symptoms, or you may find that when your pet licks or scratches you, your skin reacts.
Bathing and brushing your pet regularly can help. Washing your pet’s toys can also lessen symptoms. For those with more severe symptoms, you may need to invest in pet air filters.
Some owners buy hypoallergenic pet breeds. Although not truly hypoallergenic, these pets are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other critters.
3. Drug Allergy
When you go to the doctor, one of the most common questions you hear is this, “Are you allergic to any medications?” Since the body is so complex, certain medications can trigger adverse reactions in some people. To test for drug or medication allergies, a doctor either runs blood work or does an allergy skin test.
Reactions to medications can vary, but these types of allergies typically manifest with the following symptoms:
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Throat and mouth swelling
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cramping and abdominal pain
- A drop in blood pressure
In severe (but rare) cases, allergies to medication may cause anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening medical emergency that can put the body into a state of shock.
4. Pollen Allergy
Pollen is the most common allergy trigger among adults. Also known as hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis, pollen allergies occur from dry pollen grains that come from plants like weeds, trees, and grass.
Pollen allergy symptoms may include:
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Dry cough
- Watery eyes
To minimize symptoms, limit your outdoor activity during high-pollen-count days. You should also wash your bedding once a week and shower before bed to wash pollen from your hair and skin. To help manage symptoms, try taking an antihistamine.
To determine which pollen is triggering your symptoms, healthcare providers commonly perform an allergy test. There are two basic types. The first type is a simple skin prick test. The patient exposes their skin to an allergen to see if there's a reaction. The second test is a blood draw that checks for antibodies related to specific types of allergens. This is a safe and convenient way to determine your allergies, and it is the type of test used by Wyndly. Get an at-home allergy test now to find out what you’re allergic to!
5. Latex Allergy
When people think of a latex allergy, they most often think of gloves. However, latex is found in a variety of products, from condoms and balloons to bandages and rubber bands. Those people with an allergy to latex can have reactions from breathing latex fibers in the air or touching latex surfaces.
Latex allergy symptoms include:
If you have a severe allergy to latex, you may also experience difficulty breathing or develop hives. To check for a latex allergy, your healthcare provider can order a simple blood test for latex antibodies.
6. Mold Allergy
Mold and mildew can grow on various surfaces, from walls to produce. When it grows, it releases small spores (or seeds) into the air, which causes reactions in some people. Mold allergies are most prevalent from July to early fall because of the humid weather.
As with other allergies, the most common mold allergy symptoms are:
- A runny nose
A skin and blood test can reveal if you’re reactive to mold. To help symptoms, fix any leaks in your home, use exhaust fans to circulate fresh air, and throw away any produce as soon as it starts to go bad.
7. Insect and Pest Allergy
Wasps and other bugs aren’t just a nuisance, they also trigger severe reactions in some individuals. Stinging insects that cause allergies include bees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, and fire ants. But non-stinging pests can also cause problems. Cockroaches, dust mites, and bed bugs also trigger allergies.
Allergy symptoms from bug stings include:
- Minor swelling
- Trouble breathing
Allergy symptoms from non-stinging bugs include:
- Itchy eyes, nose, mouth, or throat
- A stuffy nose
It’s important to note that some symptoms from a bug bite may not be from an allergic reaction. Some bugs are poisonous and carry other symptomatic diseases.
What Are Some Treatment Options for Allergies?
Treatment options for allergies vary based on the type of allergy, but in general, options include:
- High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners
- High-efficiency vacuum cleaners
- Nasal sprays
- Allergy shot immunotherapy
- Allergy drop immunotherapy
Learn More With Wyndly
If you’ve reached a point where you’ve tried several treatments without relief, Wyndly can help. Our immunotherapy solution trains your body to essentially ignore allergens so you stop experiencing symptoms. Through our extensive allergen profile, we help patients learn about their allergies, and our allergy doctors design a perfect plan for your lifestyle.
Experience a life free from troubling allergy symptoms. Get a personalized treatment plan today to beat your allergies with sublingual immunotherapy!
- Drug Allergy and Other Adverse Reactions to Drugs. Publication. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. URL. Accessed September 18, 2020.
- Food allergy. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed September 18, 2020.
- Latex Allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. URL. Accessed September 18, 2020.
- Pollen Allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. URL. Accessed September 18, 2020.
- Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats?. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. URL. Accessed September 18, 2020.
- Mold Allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. URL. Accessed September 18, 2020.
- Insect Allergies. AAFA. URL. Accessed September 18, 2020.