About 1 in 5 Americans suffer from allergies, which can cause a variety of annoying symptoms. At their most serious, allergies can even trigger a life-threatening reaction. If you have allergies, learning what substances you’re allergic to can help you avoid them. In addition, getting treatment can also help protect you from adverse reactions.
In this blog, the ear, nose, and throat doctors at New York ENT outline the most common allergy triggers.
What are allergies?
Allergies occur when your body’s immune system mistakenly views a substance (called an allergen) as a threat.
In response, you produce a protein as your body tries to fight against the allergen. This causes chemicals like histamines to be released in your blood, which is responsible for the symptoms you might experience.
What symptoms do they cause?
Symptoms can depend on what you’re allergic to. For example, if it’s something you eat, you may have gastrointestinal symptoms, and if the trigger is something you breathe in, it can cause nasal symptoms.
The following are some common allergy symptoms:
- Skin rash or hives
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
In severe cases, an allergy can cause a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. This causes your mouth or throat to swell, which makes it difficult to breathe. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s a medical emergency.
What are the most common allergy triggers?
Pollen from plants such as grasses, weeds, and trees can trigger an allergic reaction. Wind can cause it to travel for miles, so even if you don’t have a particular plant in your yard, you may be exposed to it.
Fido or Fluffy can cause allergies if you react to proteins in your pet’s saliva or oil glands.
Dust mites can thrive in many areas of your home, making a meal of dead skin cells, bacteria, and more. You can be exposed to them continually since they live in mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and other places inside your home.
Insect stings are painful to anyone, but in some people, it can cause an allergic reaction.
Mold can be found both inside and outside as long as it has the moisture it needs to grow. It can be present in bathrooms and in grass and leaves.
Many different types of food can cause an allergic reaction, including milk, eggs, nuts, shellfish, wheat, and fish.
Latex can be found in condoms as well as disposable gloves and medical devices, so if you’re allergic to it, you’ll need to let your doctor know before having a procedure.
Antibiotics, aspirin, and other medications can trigger an allergy, even if you’ve taken it before without incident.
Cigarette smoke, chemicals, and other strong pollutants can cause a reaction.
How can allergies be treated?
The following medications can help provide relief:
- Antihistamines – block the histamines that trigger symptoms like itching and swelling
- Decongestants – can be used, along with antihistamines, to treat nasal congestion
- Corticosteroids – helps reduce the inflammation that causes nasal symptoms
- Epinephrine – used only for a serve, life-threatening allergic reaction, this is administered through an auto-injector device like an EpiPen.
In addition, immunotherapy (allergy shots) can help your body build up a tolerance to the substances you’re allergic to.
If you have symptoms of an allergic reaction, make an appointment with New York ENT today. Our board-certified physicians can determine what your allergy triggers are and provide treatment to help you get relief and stay safe.