According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 50 million people in the United States face some form of an allergic reaction every year. Allergies are one of the major annoyances in life, and with so many different types of allergies, it can be hard to pinpoint what triggers your symptoms. As such, knowing what allergens you’re susceptible to is important for your overall health—especially considering some allergies are life-threatening.
If you suffer from allergies, it may be necessary to make some adjustments to your lifestyle. Read our guide on the various types of allergies to identify your related symptoms and discover the source of your potential problem.
Some people find that they’ll have an allergic reaction to the medicine they take. There are a few ways you can tell whether you are having an allergic reaction to a medication. Hives are the most common sign; however, it is possible to have a very serious reaction called anaphylaxis. If you present any of the following symptoms, you may be allergic to your medication:
- Swelling in the throat or mouth
- A decrease in blood pressure
Perhaps the most prevalent allergy, pollen affects many individuals, specifically when there is a change in season. Pollen arises from the fertilization of other planets. The allergy irritants typically come from trees, grass, and weeds via little pollen grains released into the air. Some signs that you may suffer from pollen allergies is a stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, swelling and watery eyes, and itchiness in the nose, ears, mouth, and eyes. The good news is you can combat pollen allergies with medicine such as Zyrtec or Claritin. Another great way to prepare for bad pollen is to use a weather app which can alert you of the pollen levels for that day.
There are certain foods out there can cause allergic reactions. Food allergies occur because an individual’s immune system makes an antibody (immunoglobulin E (IgE)) which clashes with certain foods. This can lead to symptoms such as itching in the mouth, swelling, dizziness, vomiting, and hives. Some common food allergy diagnoses include:
Consider having an allergist test you to see which foods you may be allergic to. This way, you’ll know what to avoid at all costs. While this will be easy to take care of at home, this is not the case for dining out. If you do suffer from a food allergy, it’s important to inquire about the ingredients in the food when you eat out.
Mold is dangerous for several reasons, but a main negative outcome is it can give you allergies. Mold is a fungus that can grow in certain areas of your home and requires immediate professional attention. Although mold can be difficult to find, your allergic reaction may be the thing that alerts you to the problem. Mold isn’t good to breathe in for anyone, but those who are extra sensitive to it may experience coughing, dry skin, and watery eyes. A medical history test performed by a doctor can diagnose whether or not you have mold allergies.
Mold isn’t the only thing in your home that can cause an allergic reaction. Dust is another common irritant that many individuals are allergic to. If you find yourself sneezing, itching your eyes, coughing, and having other cold-like symptoms, dust may be the culprit. Luckily, this is an allergen you can prevent. Make sure you vacuum regularly, keep your home’s humidity low, and wear a mask while cleaning. A dust allergy isn’t super serious and you can easily resolve it by keeping your home free of it.
Having a pet is one of the greatest joys in life. Unfortunately, however, some people may not be able to keep certain animals in the house due to allergies. Pet allergies typically pertain to animals with fur, such as dogs and cats, with the latter being more prevalent. Our immune systems may have trouble responding to an external substance from an animal, including urine, saliva, or dander. Exposure to these external substances can cause skin redness, swelling, rashes, and trouble breathing. If you believe you are suffering from pet allergies, an allergist can test you to confirm or deny your suspicion.
Similar to pets, people can also be allergic to insects. The type of bug you may be allergic to can range from stinging and biting insects, such as bees and mosquitoes, to pests such as cockroaches. While a sting or a bite will have natural side effects, an allergic reaction will cause you to display typical allergic symptoms and will likely last longer than a few days.
Latex is a type of rubber that many manufacturers use to create items such as rubber bands, balloons, gloves, condoms, bandages, and plenty more. If you come in contact with any of these items and start to notice symptoms such as skin redness and hives, you may be allergic to latex. Thankfully, manufacturers make these items using different materials, including Silicone, Synthetic Polyisoprene, and Polyurethane, which are safe to use.
Compared to other side effects, there is one that stands out among the rest. Most of the allergies mentioned previously lead to some type of skin irritation. There are two skin conditions that relate to allergies: eczema and hives. It is important to look out for both as this will be a clear sign you’re having an allergic reaction. Eczema will look red and scaly whereas hives will appear as bumps on the body. There is also contact dermatitis, which can also lead to bumps. Knowing how to differentiate these skin conditions will help you quickly determine the irritant and take preventative measures.
At Allergy and ENT Associates, we offer allergy testing in the Houston area that will determine the source of a patient’s allergic reaction. Our trained allergists will perform a scratch test, which will reveal the severity of different allergies based on skin irritation. From here, you can take the necessary steps to adjust your lifestyle to remain safe and healthy.