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7 Most Common Types of Allergies and How to Manage Them

Written byRohini Mankar

Last updated on : 16 May, 2024

Read time : 6 min

One day I decided to clean my house. I started dusting my furniture. Soon after I started cleaning, I started sneezing. One after the other, I sneezed for 5 minutes. I soon realised that I might have an allergy towards dust particles. So I thought, why not discuss allergies in this article and what different types of allergens we should be aware of?

What is an allergy?

Allergy is how our body reacts to any harmless substances like pollens, specific food, medicine, insect sting, pet or latex. Allergic symptoms are mostly mild, but they can be fatal at times. 

Austrian, Clemens Peter Freiherr von Pirquet and Hungarian, Bela Schick were two paediatricians who coined the term allergy by conjugating the Greek words allos meaning “other” and ergon meaning “reaction” which means body’s reaction to some substances. An allergen is a particle or substance that causes an allergic reaction. 

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) are antibodies that activate white blood cells called mast cells and basophils that produce an inflammatory response. The inflammatory response symptoms may be mild, causing temporary discomfort or life-threatening circumstances.

In India, about 20% to 30 % of people suffer from at least one allergic condition. Of which, about 15% tend to develop Asthma. Among urban children, allergic diseases are more prevalent in males. Approximately 4.5% of adolescents suffer from allergic reactions to certain food items, which might lead to asthma, rhinitis or both.

Risk factors of allergy

Allergens are classified under two categories host and environmental factors. Host factors comprise the following factors genetic, gender, race, and age, while the genetic factor is the most important. On the other hand, the environmental factors comprise pollens, pollution, dust, animal fur or dander.

Causes of allergy

Allergens are things that induce allergic reactions.

Common allergens that lead to allergic reactions are:

  • pollen
  • house dust mites
  • foods, such as peanuts, milk, prawns and eggs 
  • animal fur from pets like cats and dogs
  • insect stings of bee and wasp stings
  • certain medicines
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Latex, such as rubber gloves

Types of Allergies and their Symptoms 

1. Certain foods

Allergic responses towards certain food items occur when your body produces a specific antibody within a few minutes of eating that food. Food allergy symptoms may include:

  • Itching all over your body or localised to a body part.
  • Nausea 
  • vomiting.
  • Face, throat or tongue may swell.

Some food allergy that produces IgE presents above mentioned symptoms. However, these symptoms may be life-threatening sometimes. The symptoms of food allergy appear within 30 minutes of eating that allergy-causing food item.

The most common food items that adults or children are allergic to are:

  • Milk.
  • Eggs.
  • Wheat.
  • Soy.
  • Nuts like Peanuts, walnuts
  • Shellfish like prawns

2. Allergens that you breath

Allergens that we breathe present in the air (throughout or seasonal) affect us, thus known as inhalants. It may set off symptoms like wheezing if a person is asthmatic. 

Some symptoms of Inhalant allergy symptoms include:

  • Runny and stuffy nose.
  • Itchy nose.
  • Frequent Sneezing.
  • The eye starts watering.

Some allergens that are found throughout the year include:

  • Dust mites– they are minute creatures, often not visible to the naked eye are usually present in pillows, mattresses, carpets etc.
  • Cockroaches– allergy happens due to the proteins present in their faeces, eggs and dead body parts.

Seasonal allergens are pollens that float in the air.

3. Medications

Certain drugs and medications end up resulting in an allergic reaction. Some common medicines that cause allergies are antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), insulin, and chemotherapy drugs.

Signs of allergy due to medicines include:

  • Rash or itching
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Swelling.

4. Latex

Latex allergies occur after a person comes in contact with natural rubber latex-like rubber gloves, condoms, balloons, and balls. Latex allergy symptoms like skin irritation, runny nose and breathing problem appear within minutes of contact with latex.

Read more Skin allergy, its causes and natural home remedies

5. Insect bites or stings

When insect sting, they release a toxic element that causes an allergic reaction. Wasps, bees, ants and hornets are insects that sting.

A toxic substance in the insect sting is also known as venom. This venom manifests the following symptoms- 

  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Swelling at the site of the sting
  • Gasping
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Rapid pulse.
  • Low blood pressure.

Read more Home remedy for honey bee sting

6. Mould Allergy

In the humid weather, we often observe Mould (tiny fungi)  growing on the walls. Small pores released in the air from these moulds cause allergic symptoms like chest congestion and runny and itchy nose.

A skin and blood test can determine if they are allergic to mould. Exhaust fans circulate fresh air in the house, which helps us eliminate the fungal spores.

7. Pet allergy

Many people are fond of having dogs and cats as their pets. However, their urine, saliva, dander and fur trigger allergic reactions in some.

Symptoms of pet allergies include:

  • Skin reactions
  • Stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing
  • Redness of eyes or watery eyes
  • Fatigue

The allergic reaction to the dander or the protein from the animals occurs when they lick you or scratch you, or their fur or dander stays on the furniture or clothing.

Regular bathing and brushing of pets are beneficial. Some people buy breeds that are less likely to cause any allergy.

How to manage allergies?

The best treatment option for allergies is to avoid the allergen. But if it is not possible to stay away from allergens, then there are certain Over-the-counter medicine which helps to manage an allergic reaction. One should always consult a doctor before taking these medications. 

1. Over-the-counter medicines

  • Antihistamines such as cetirizine
  • Nasal sprays include fluticasone nasal spray, antihistamine nasal sprays
  • Decongestants like Oxymetazoline, Phenylephrine, and Pseudoephedrine should be used cautiously as they may have side effects.
  • Inhaled or oral bronchodilators, Inhaled steroids, Montelukast and Injectable drugs like omalizumab or benralizumab are asthma medications to manage wheezing and chest congestion.

Read more5 Best OTC medications for allergy relief

2. Immunotherapy

An expert doctor may prescribe immunotherapy if over-the-counter medication is not effective in managing allergies. Subcutaneous and/or sublingual immunotherapy will expose you to small amounts of allergens and gradually dosage will be increased over several months. Gradual exposure builds tolerance to the allergen.

Conclusion 

Allergy is a response developed on exposure to certain allergens. If one identifies what type of allergen triggers the reaction, then treatment or management becomes easier. However, consult a doctor to know more about managing allergic reactions.

Truemeds is one such pharmacy that aims at disbursing generic as well as brand-name medicine to every corner of our country. You can now purchase the medicines from our online pharmacy Truemeds app and website. You can also buy generic or branded medication at discounted prices (save up to 72% on total purchase) and get it free delivered to your doorstep across India.

Disclaimer – This content including advice and medications provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a medical qualified opinion. Always consult a specialist or your doctor for more information.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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