Up to 50 million Americans are affected by some type of allergy and at least 35% are affected at some stage in their lives. In most people, allergies first appear during infancy or childhood. It can show up in different ways including runny nose, itching, rashes, etc.
Here are 25 of the most common allergy triggers experienced by people all over the world.
- Dust Mites
- Insect Sting
- Pet Hair/Dander
- Buckwheat Flour
- Balsam of Peru
Of all the rooms in the home, the bedroom often contains the most dust mites. It’s also where you spend ⅓ of your life in. Dust mites feast on flakes of human skin and expel feces that contain DerP1, a very potent allergen that can cause asthma-like symptoms, eczema or chronic sinus problems.
Change bed linens at least once a month. Rotate your mattress while you’re at it. Pillows should be replaced every 2-3 years, comforters every 5-6 years, and mattresses every 10. Along with wear and tear issues, over time all of the above becomes a haven for dirt and allergens, especially dust mites.
Normally, you’ll develop redness and swelling at the site of an insect bite. That is normal. However, an allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to the venom from the sting. It could be in the form of swelling (face, throat, tongue) or itchy hives all over the body.
A sure way to avoid such complications is to keep your surroundings safe. Get an exterminator to identify and destroy the hives and nests in and around your home. I kid you not but if you wear lots of perfume and bright colored clothes, you might come across to a stinging insect as a flower. When in the garden, avoid wearing open toed shoes or going barefoot.
Pollen allergies are seasonal, happening mainly during spring and fall. A pollen that is present in the air can land in a person’s eyes, nose, lungs, and on their skin to set up allergic reactions like hay fever, eye allergies and allergic asthma.
Keep your house and car windows closed all the time to prevent pollens from drifting in. Check the weather forecast for hot, dry and windy days as those are peak allergy days. Pollen is usually emitted between 5-10am so avoid staying outdoor for long periods during those times. Use a mask and protective glasses when mowing the lawn. Put your clothes in the washer after coming in from outdoor activities and take a shower, especially before crawling into bed.
Mold grows by digesting plant or animal matter, such as leaves, wood, paper, dirt, and food and spreads by releasing tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air. Mold grows quickly in moist dark spaces, such as basements, garbage cans, and piles of rotting leaves. All of us are exposed to some mold every day with no bad effects. An allergic reaction may occur if we are exposed to too much of the fungus.
Periodically check and fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water as mold loves to grow on moist surfaces. Check the insides of your drywall for mold by smelling. You can also consider using a dehumidifier to get rid of dampness. Add insulation to windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors where there is potential for condensation on cold surfaces. If you do find mold, brush it off easily with equal parts vinegar and water with a stiff brush.
Contrary to what many people believe, pet allergies are not usually caused by animal hair but by animal dander, dead skin much like dandruff, and saliva. Symptoms can range from itchy throat, nasal congestion, and sneezing to a more severe, asthma-like response, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
If the animal allergies are severe, well, there needs to be a family meeting to decide what is going to be done. In general, finding another home for an allergenic pet followed by a thorough housecleaning is the best solution for symptom control. However, it’s possible and often likely you’ll outgrow allergies you had as a child. The flip side is when you develop allergies as an adult, the tendency is for them to worsen with age.
Cockroaches are creepy. Nobody likes them. But more than that, the dust from cockroach exoskeleton can trigger asthma in asthma sufferers, which is well documented. What’s interesting is that those allergic to shellfish can react to cockroaches because the cockroach exoskeleton contains exactly the same protein that most commonly causes shellfish and dust mite allergy.
Make it a habit to keep food, beverage and garbage in containers with tight lids. Wash dishes right away and mop the floor once a week. Clean up crumbs and spilled drinks right away. Best of all, use poison baits.
Many hardwood dusts, especially those from exotic woods, are common sensitizers and can cause allergic skin reactions. Prolonged contact with rosewood, for example, which is used in making musical instruments, has caused allergic reactions in some musicians. Sometimes, the allergy can be so strong that it can cause the skin to look as if it was burned. In most cases, wood allergies cause skin irritation, coughing, sneezing, and hives.
Whenever possible, use common hardwoods rather than rare tropical hardwoods. If you are handling woods that can cause skin irritation or allergies, wear gloves or apply a barrier cream. Wash hands carefully after work.
Wool contains a natural oil called lanolin, which is the cause of many people’s wool allergies. As wool products often come in direct contact with the skin, the most common symptoms are rashes and hives. Although a lot of people are sensitive to wool, medical experts agree that real wool allergy is rare. Some of the people claiming to have wool allergy just have sensitive skin or are just irritated from clothes with coarse fibers.
If you are truly sensitive to wool, try experimenting with different wool blends, some containing more wool and some with less, to determine what your body can tolerate. If all else fails, avoid wool products altogether.
According to the AAD, some 5,000 different fragrances and countless other fragrance combinations are used in products today. And they can be a powerful, toxic brew. From hair shampoos to carpet shampoos, from laundry detergent to shower gels, from home sprays to hair sprays to moisturizers, cosmetic, and personal care items, the scent industry has literally exploded.
The most important thing you can do is to remove yourself from the offending fragrance. If it is from another person, simply ask the person to tone it down, politely. Otherwise, change your workstation location. If you have your own private room, use an air purifier. Try gradually exposing more of yourself to the environment to reduce the potency of your symptoms.
Latex allergy can be serious but rarely fatal. Normally, the symptoms appear in the form of hives, itching, swelling and runny nose. A lot of common consumer products contain latex. For example, condoms, bags, balloons, shoes, tires, tools, underwear, toys, baby bottles, and pacifiers.
There is no cure for latex allergy, so the best treatment for this condition is prevention. The American Latex Allergy Association maintains a list of latex-free suppliers of medical products and consumer products. For school supplies, discountschoolsupply.com has over 300 products marked “latex free”. Alternatives to some common items include mylar balloons, plastic toys, silicone pacifiers, sheep cecum condoms, synthetic gloves, synthetic waterproof coats, leather shoes, etc.
I kid you not but there are women (and men to a lesser exetent) who suffer from sperm allergy. The trigger of most allergy is protein and semen has lots of it. Symptoms are usually burning, itching, or reddening of the genitalia.
Good news is, this condition is treatable with desensitization. You can either expose yourself in the form of shots containing small doses of your partner’s semen, or expose the vagina with increasing amounts of sperm every 20 minutes for several hours. For desensitization to continue working you’d have to consistently have sex every 2-3 days. Otherwise, you can also re-expose yourself by having a frozen supply of your partner’s sperm.
Penicillin allergy is an overreaction by your immune system to penicillin and related antibiotics. If you have a penicillin allergy, your reaction to taking the antibiotic may range from a rash to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition.
The solution is easy. If you have penicillin allergy, just tell your doctor and you will be prescribed another antibiotic.
Facial flushing, heart palpitations, feeling hot or light headed are not symptoms of alcohol allergy. However, severe rashes, difficulty breathing, stomach cramps and swelling are.
Avoiding alcohol solves your problem. If you want, you can also try desensitization. Drink little by little over the course of several weeks to a few months to gradually build up tolerance towards alcohol.
There are lots of different allergens but nuts cause some of the strongest and most severe reactions. Most people with nut allergy react after contact with small amounts and some people may react to trace amounts. Some can be so sensitive to nut allergens that a tiny amount on their lips, or even standing next to someone eating peanuts, can be enough to start a reaction.
Your best bet is to avoid all. This includes peanuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, coconuts, walnuts, etc. Check labels before purchasing. Good news is, on average, 1 out of 5 people with mild reactions will eventually outgrow their peanut allergy.
Sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, mustard and poppy seeds are some of the common seeds that are known to cause allergy reactions. Seeds are becoming more common in today’s diets and are used extensively in everyday foods, such as oil and bread products.
Just like nuts, 20% of seed allergy cases will resolve on their own with age. Meanwhile, you’ll have to take precautions to reduce your risk. For example, call the restaurant in advance and tell them you have an allergy before you go. Read the labels carefully before purchasing. Cautiously touch test a small amount of the food on your outer lip before putting it into your mouth. Tell-tale warnings such as a burning, chilli-like reaction, tingling or swelling, should alert you to the possibility that food allergen is present.
A milk allergy usually occurs minutes to hours after consuming milk. Signs and symptoms of milk allergy range from mild to severe and can include wheezing, vomiting, hives and digestive problems. The allergy can include cheese as well.
Avoidance is the only way but what’s interesting is that 75% of children who have allergies to milk protein are able to tolerate baked-in milk products, i.e., muffins, cookies, cake and hydrolysed formulas.
Common symptoms of soy allergy are mild and they include hives or itching in and around the mouth. Having a soy allergy means avoiding products that contain soy, which can be difficult. Many foods, such as meat products, bakery goods, chocolate and breakfast cereals, may contain soy.
Fortunately, about 50% of children with allergies to milk, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat will outgrow their allergy by the age of 6.
When it comes to eggs, proteins in the egg white are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than those in the yolk, although some people are allergic to both. The majority of immediate allergic reactions to egg are mild and consist of hives around the mouth or on other parts of the body.
Some of the allergy inducing parts of the egg are altered by heat used in cooking and become less likely to cause a reaction. This explains why some people react to raw or lightly cooked but not well cooked egg. Thankfully, by age 16, 80% of children with anaphylaxis to milk or eggs will tolerate these foods.
Although most allergic reactions to fish happen when someone eats fish, sometimes people can react to touching fish or breathing in vapors from cooking fish. It can develop at any age. Some people outgrow certain food allergies over time, but those with fish allergies usually have that allergy for the rest of their lives.
Just avoid fish completely. When eating out, find out how foods are cooked and exactly what’s in them. It can be hard to ask a lot of questions about cooking methods, and to trust the information you get. If you can’t be certain that a food is fish free, it’s best to bring safe food from home.
Shellfish fall into two different groups: crustaceans (like shrimp, crab, or lobster) and mollusks (like clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, octopus, or squid). Some people with shellfish allergies are allergic to both groups, but some might be allergic only to one.
Even though they both fall into the category of seafood, fish and shellfish are biologically different. So shellfish will not cause an allergic reaction in someone who has a fish allergy and vice versa. Shellfish allergy usually stays for the rest of your life and it can appear at any age. Actively take measures to avoid it by being aware of meals that you are about to consume.
It is one of the most common childhood food allergies, but may affect adults as well. Typical symptoms include breathing difficulties, nausea, hives, bloated stomach and an inability to focus.
Celery allergy seems to be far more common in central Europe, mainly France, Switzerland and Germany, and less so in the UK and US, where peanut allergy is the most common. Celery root is known to contain more allergen than the stalk, however the seeds contain the highest levels of allergen content. The allergen does not appear to be destroyed at cooking temperatures.
In the European Union, foods that contain or may contain celery, even in trace amounts, must be clearly marked as such. It makes accidental celery consumption far harder. When eating out, remain vigilant about what you eat.
Buckwheat is used as a substitute for rice, oats, barley and rye. It is largely consumed in Asia, particularly Japan, where it is a major food allergen due to the large consumption of soba (buckwheat noodles). Ingestion of buckwheat flour and the subsequent release of histamine causes itching, swelling and reddening of the mouth, lips and face.
Buckwheat flour is a potent allergen, hence the only way to avoid an allergic reaction is to strictly avoid buckwheat altogether. The allergens present in buckwheat flour are heat stable, therefore baking or cooking the flour will not reduce the risk of an adverse reaction. Eat wheat, oat, rye and barley instead. Before buying bread or baked products, read the label and ingredient list carefully, and ensure that the flour is milled separately from buckwheat.
Cases of chickpea allergies are rare in the West but common in India, the Mediterranean and the Middle East where it is a daily staple. Chickpea is high in proteins and is therefore a potential allergen.
Whole chickpeas are easy to see in soups and salads, and are easy enough to avoid. They are less obvious in many prepared dishes, including Middle Eastern staples such as hummus and falafel. Chickpeas are especially difficult to avoid in Indian food. In Indian food, they are often split and peeled, after which they are known as channa dal. Chickpeas are also ground for flour, and used to make a variety of foods including crisp pappadums and fritters called pakoras. Children will usually grow out of it as they age.
Basically, Balsam of Peru is a flavoring/fragrance added to foods, cleaning supplies, scented candles, oils, etc. to give it it’s flavoring and scent. Balsam of Peru is sneaky because it goes by many different names and can be found in just about EVERYTHING! This includes majority of spices, anything containing citrus, chilli, flavoring agents such as the ones used in baked goods and candy, pickles, wine, beer, gin, chocolate, ice cream, cola, and tomatoes.
It’s all very confusing at first but when you know what to look for it’s pretty easy. Avoid anything and everything with ‘flavourings’ or ‘natural flavours’ in the ingredients list. You will also eventually learn to make things from scratch as basic ingredients is not the problem. Ready made foods is. The pros is that you will become much healthier when you hardly eat processed foods.