Top Allergies You Need to Be Aware of

By  //  August 15, 2022

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Do you know what your top allergies are? It’s important to be aware of the allergens that affect you the most, as they can cause a wide range of symptoms. From itchy eyes and a runny nose to more serious conditions like asthma and anaphylaxis, allergies can make life very uncomfortable.

Join us today as we review the worst allergens, as well as how to get an at-home allergy test. Stay safe and symptom-free by knowing your triggers.

What Is an Allergy and How Do I Know if I Have One?

An allergy is when your body reacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. The reaction is usually caused by your immune system, which mistakes the allergen for a harmful invader. When you come into contact with the allergen, your body releases chemicals, like histamine, that cause uncomfortable symptoms.

There are many different types of allergies, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common allergy symptoms include:

■ Itchy eyes

■ Sneezing

■ Runny nose

■ Congestion

■ Wheezing

■ Shortness of breath

■ Rash or hives

■ Nausea

■ Diarrhea

If you experience any of these symptoms after coming into contact with an allergen, you may have an allergy. Blood tests and skin prick tests are the most common ways to test for allergies.

What Are the Top Allergens in the United States?

There are many different types of allergies and each person can be allergic to different things. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, these are the top allergens in the United States. 

■ Dust mites:  These tiny creatures live in dust and are often found in bedding, carpeting, and upholstered furniture. They are a leading cause of year-round allergies and asthma.

■ Cockroaches: Like dust mites, cockroaches also live in dirty environments and can trigger allergy symptoms. They are most common in urban areas.

■ Pollen: Pollen is a fine powder released by trees, weeds, and grasses. It is a leading cause of seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever.

■ Mold: Mold spores are found in the air and on surfaces indoors and outdoors. They can cause year-round allergy symptoms, as well as asthma attacks.

■ Animal dander: Dander is tiny flakes of skin or hair that are shed by animals with fur or feathers. It is a common trigger for pet allergies and can also be found in homes where there are no pets.

■ Food allergens: Many different foods can cause allergic reactions, but the most common are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.

■ Insect stings: Bee, wasp, hornet, yellow jacket, and fire ant stings can trigger a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

■ Latex: Latex is found in many products, including gloves, balloons, and condoms. It can cause skin irritation or a more serious allergy called latex allergy syndrome.

■ Metals:  Some people are allergic to metals, such as nickel, cobalt, or gold. The allergy is usually to the metal in jewelry, but can also be from metal implants or dental fillings.

■ Baker’s yeast: Baker’s yeast is used in breadmaking and can cause a skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis.

An Allergy Test Can Help You Determine Your Triggers

If you suspect you have allergies but are not sure what you are allergic to, an at-home allergy test can help. With an at-home allergy test, you can get tested for the most common allergies in just a few minutes. The results are usually available within a few days.

There are many different at-home allergy tests available. Some use a skin prick test, while others use a blood sample. The most important thing to look for is a test that is FDA approved and has been validated by independent researchers

How Can I Treat My Allergies?

The best way to treat allergies is to avoid your triggers. However, this is not always possible. If you cannot avoid your triggers, there are several treatment options available.

■ Medications: There are many different types of medications that can be used to treat allergies. These include antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroids, and leukotriene inhibitors.

■ Allergy shots: Allergy shots (also called immunotherapy) are a long-term treatment for allergies. They involve getting injections of the allergen over some time. The goal is to build up immunity to the allergen so that you have fewer and less severe allergy symptoms when you are exposed to it.

■ Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat allergies. For example, if you have severe nasal allergies, you may need surgery to remove the turbinate bones in your nose. This is a procedure called turbinate reduction.

Final Thoughts: What Is Anaphylaxis and How Can I Prevent It

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. It occurs when the body has a severe reaction to an allergen. The symptoms of anaphylaxis include trouble breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, and dizziness or lightheadedness. Anaphylaxis can occur within minutes of exposure to the allergen.

If you have severe allergies, you should always carry an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen®) with you. This is a device that injects a pre-measured dose of medication into your thigh to help stop the reaction.

If you are exposed to an allergen and start having symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should use the auto-injector right away. Then, you should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.