An allergy is an abnormal reaction of the immune system of the body to what is otherwise considered a harmful foreign object. There are different types of allergies that a person may suffer from.
Some of the most important types are as follows.
Types of Allergies
The following allergy types are the most common allergy types.
- Bee Sting Allergy
- Cosmetic Allergy
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- Drug Allergy
- Dust Mite Allergy
- Eye Allergy
- Food Allergy
- Latex Allergy
- Mold Allergy
- Pet Allergy
- Plant Allergy
- Pollen or Spring Allergy
- Salicylate Allergy
- Sun Allergy
Bee Sting Allergy
While swelling and pain is normal reaction to a bee sting, a bee sting allergy involves additional allergic reaction. Bee sting allergies are not too uncommon with an estimated 2 million Americans suffering from it.
Dizziness, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, swelling of the face and the mouth, Hives or itchy rash, anxiety, restless.
The allergic reactions to various cosmetic and make up products is known as cosmetic allergy. This includes perfumes, shampoos and moisturizers. Cosmetic allergy is not uncommon but serious conditions are rare. Cosmetic allergy leads to the conditions of Allergic Contract Dermatitis and Irritant Contract Dermatitis. The symptoms of cosmetic allergy mostly appear around the face and the neck.
skin irritation, injured skin cells, rash, itching and swelling.
Several drugs can trigger an allergic reaction in many people. However, it must not be confused with the side effects of the particular drug. The drug reaction occurs abnormally when the immune system of the body treats it as a threatening foreign body and attacks it by releasing histamine. Antibiotics such as penicillin and other drugs such as insulin are common sources of allergic reactions.
Symptoms: Skin rash, hives, anxiety, fainting, itchiness, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, blueness of the skin, abdominal pain and rapid pulse.
Dust Mite Allergy
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Dust mites are small insects found with dust particles can trigger an allergic reaction leading to conditions such as Asthma, Sinusitis and Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis. Dust mites feed on shed human skin flakes and are present almost anywhere indoors where dust is found and the best way to find relief from its symptom is avoiding a dusty environment and regular cleaning. It is one of the leading causes of rhinorrhea and nasal congestion.
Sneezing, rhinorrhea or runny nose, nasal tract inflammation, nasal congestion, watery and itchy eyes, eye redness, coughing, nausea or vomiting, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and difficulty in sleeping.
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Eye allergy is also known as Allergic Conjunctivitis. The condition is caused when conjunctiva of the eyes is inflamed as an allergic reaction. Conjunctiva is a layer of tissues in the eye that line the eyeball white and the inner eyelid and is responsible for keeping the eye moist.
Redness in the white of the eyeball, itchiness in the eye, blurred vision, watery eyes, eyelid swelling.
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Several types of food can trigger an allergic reaction in a lot of people. Food allergies in children and babies are mostly related to milk and eggs. Some of the common examples of food allergies include allergy to milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, other nuts and wheat. Food with molds such as cheese, bread, yeast, mushrooms, soy sauce, canned juices and also cause allergies in some people. Food with sulfite such as baked items, potato chips, pickled foods, beer, wine and tea can also cause allergies.
Food allergy is a different condition to food intolerance, which is a digestive system disorder involving symptoms such as diarrhea, flatulence, constipation and abdominal cramps when a certain type of food, such as milk, is consumed.
Itching in the mouth, difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing, hives, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
The material latex or rubber can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. The allergy is primarily caused by accessories and clothing featuring this material, particularly rubber gloves. Latex allergy is caused by skin contact, inhalation and exposure to blood stream and mucous membrane. Apart from Allergic and Irritant Contact Dermatitis, the most severe allergic reaction to latex is known as Latex Hypersensitivity, which is an immediate allergic reaction. Latex is frequently used in medical products so physicians should be careful with their use with people having latex allergies. Latex is used in the production of condoms as well.
Skin rash, scaling, dryness of the skin, itchiness, burning, skin lesions and skin irritation spreading to other body parts. Latex Hypersensitivity involves symptoms such as hives, cramps, conjunctivitis, severe itching and rarely tremors, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, rapid heartbeat and anaphylactic shock leading to death.
Mold Allergy is an allergic reaction to molds which is a type of fungus commonly found indoors and in some food materials such as cheese, mushrooms, bread, canned juices and dried fruit. Molds play an important role in the food chain by breaking down dead organic material into nutrients.
Skin rash, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes and wheezing.
People can develop allergies by making contact with pets such as cats and dogs. The condition is particularly associated with cats. Pet allergies can be hereditary. Contrary to the popular belief, pet allergies are not caused by fur, but by dander, the dead skin flakes of the pets. Other factors causing pet allergies are pet saliva and urine. People who do not want to give up keeping pets to avoid allergies should minimize exposure to these allergens.
Skin rash, wheezing, itchy eyes. Asymptomatic at times, especially in children.
A number of plants can cause an allergic reaction on exposure. Plants can cause allergic reaction on touching them due to an oily sap in their trunk, stems, roots and leaves known as Urishiol. The allergic reaction from plants can lead to the condition known as Allergic Contact Dermatitis. Some of the common plants that cause allergy include Poison Ivy, Sumac and Oak.
Skin rash in patches on the area of exposure, skin rash developing into blisters or red bumps known as papules, skin redness and skin itchiness.
Pollen or Spring Allergy
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Spring allergies are caused by the dispersal of pollen or the reproductive spores of the plant in the wind for the purpose of wind pollination. The pollen is very small and can cause an allergic reaction by causing a condition known as Hay Fever or Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. You can avoid allergies during spring by ensuring minimum contact with the pollen laden wind and moving to a place with lower pollen count.
Inflammation in the sinus cavities, nasal inflammation, nasal congestion, post nasal drip, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy throat, nose and eyes.
Salicylate Allergy or Aspirin Allergy
Salicylate is a naturally occurring group of chemicals extracted from plants and can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Salicylates are used in aspirin and several food and cosmetic products, broadening the range of effect. It is also known as Aspirin allergy.
Headache, nasal congestion, skin rash, hives, itchiness, skin color change, swelling of hands and feet, swelling of the face, stomach pain and symptoms similar to asthma such as wheezing and difficulty in breathing.
Sun Allergy or Photosensitivity
Exposure to sunlight can trigger an allergic reaction to some people due to the ultraviolet light. The condition can even lead to skin cancer in some cases. People with fair skin and light colored hair have a greater risk of developing a sun allergy.
Skin rash, sunburns, change in skin texture.
Risk Factors of Allergies
Allergies usually run in families. If both the parents of a patient suffer from allergies, then the victim has a risk of the development of an allergy by no less than 60%. However, that risk is reduced to half if only one parent is suffering from an allergy. People with no family history of allergies only have the probability of 15% of developing an allergy.
Age is an important factor, though the development of an allergy can occur at almost any point of time in a person’s life. Children are at an increased risk of developing allergies early in their lives. The younger a person is at the time of the exposure to the allergenic stimulus, the greater the likelihood of the development of an allergy.
People with increased exposure to certain allergens such as living in a dusty environment could be more likely to develop an allergy. However, allergens are considered harmless in themselves for those who do not contract allergies.
Complication and Conditions Triggered by Allergies
The particular conditions and complications triggered by an allergy depends on the particular type.
However, the following are the most important ones.
- Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever
- Hives or Urticaria
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis
- Immediate Allergic Reaction
- Allergic Shock
- Anaphylaxis (rare)
The most common and effective way of diagnosing a particular allergy is skin testing. The prick-puncture method is the most widely used method because of its low risk and accurate results. A small portion of the skin, usually on the arm, is exposed to the suspected allergen and a prick is made to check the reaction. If an allergic reaction appears, the allergy from a particular allergen is confirmed.
Blood Test for Allergy Antibodies
People with allergies have the IgE immunoglobin antibodies in their blood stream as the body triggers it as a defensive reaction. People who cannot undergo skin testing for some reason are required to take this blood test to confirm the allergy.
The treatment of an allergy varies with the condition but is largely concentrated at curbing the symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine drugs are administered to reduce the allergic reactions. Decongestant sprays are also frequently used for the treatment. Topical medicine is also applied in some cases to relieve skin irritation.
Allergen injections are administered to desensitize the immune system of the body from the allergic reaction on exposure to it.
Remember, the most effective way of treatment of an allergy is avoiding contact with the allergen.