Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a particular substance as if it is harmful. These substances are called allergens. Whilst these differ for each person, there are common triggers which can affect most allergy sufferers. Read on to find out more about the most prevalent airborne, food, skin and drug allergies.
What are airborne allergies?
Found in the air, tiny particles of some allergens are inhaled enter the body causing sneezing, congested sinuses, wheezing and itchy skin. These allergens include grass and tree pollen, mould and dust mites which can trigger reactions when those affected are indoors or outdoors. These are the most commonly found allergies in the UK, with house dust mites triggering allergic reactions in the majority of asthmatic children.
How widespread are pet allergies?
The skin, saliva and urine of animals like cats, dogs and birds are one of the most common allergens. Animals shed tiny skin cells, known as dander, which can become airborne causing sneezing, itchy eyes and irritated skin when they are breathed in. Cat allergens are especially long-lasting and easily spread. They are often present in homes that a cat has not been in for months or years and are found on the shoes and clothes of cat owners.
What also frequently causes allergic reactions?
Foods like nuts, fruit, eggs, cow’s milk and shellfish can often cause itching skin, a runny nose, coughing or vomiting and diarrhoea. In some rare cases, it can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis which requires emergency medical treatment. Allergic responses are also commonly caused by chemicals found in hair dyes and detergents. In addition, medications like antibiotics and aspirin and natural rubber latex found in gloves and condoms are also regular culprits along with insect bites and stings.
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