The Most Common Causes of Allergies

common causes allergies

Allergy season is coming up folks, and with an estimated 50 million Americans suffering from allergies, it’s sure to be a sneezy season. Sure, you can stock up on antihistamines and drudge through the late Winter and early Spring months in a haze. But, wouldn’t it be easier to learn the common causes of allergies and avoid them?

We think so!

Find out the most common causes of allergies below and make sure to stop by one of our 18 convenient locations if you need some speedy allergy relief.

Airborne Allergens

Airborne allergens are what people typically think of when they think of allergies. These are the tiny particles that cause you to get runny eyes and noses, start sneezing your head off, and generally feel crummy.

These allergens enter your body, normally through the nose, and cause your immune system to jump into overdrive. Your immune system thinks they’re harmful bacteria and begins to produce antibodies to fight them. These antibodies, combined with other chemicals they release called histamines, create the allergy symptoms you know and love.

Airborne allergens include a wide range of particles, including: 

  • Pollen 
  • Dander 
  • Mold 
  • Dust mites

Food

Food allergies are, generally speaking, a bit more serious than airborne allergies. While airborne allergies are frustrating, they’re rarely fatal. Food allergies can be if they produce anaphylaxis.

Almost all food allergens are proteins. Your immune system mistakes these proteins for harmful particulars in the same way they mistake airborne allergens for harmful bacteria. The result is an immune reaction that causes allergy symptoms, including anaphylaxis in extreme cases.

Common food allergies include: 

  • Peanuts 
  • Tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts) 
  • Shellfish 
  • Soybean 
  • Wheat 
  • Fish 
  • Milk 
  • Eggs 

Pets

Allergies to pets with fur are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. In the United States, as many as three in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. Pet allergens can collect on furniture and other surfaces. These allergens will not lose their strength for a long time. Sometimes the allergens may remain at high levels for several months and cling to walls, furniture, clothing, and other surfaces.

Latex

The term “latex” refers to the protein in the sap of the Brazilian rubber tree. It also refers to “natural rubber products” made from that sap. Latex is in many everyday products, such as balloons, rubber bands, prophylactics, diaphragms, bandages, and more. For certain individuals, contact with these products can cause an allergic reaction. Some people have allergic reactions by breathing in latex fibers in the air.

Insect Stings

Insect stings are another common culprit of allergic reactions. They’re also another cause of anaphylaxis, making them a bit more serious than airborne allergens. Insect sting allergic reactions are caused by your immune system reacting to the insect’s venom.

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There are four main types of insects whose strings cause allergic reactions: bees, hornets, yellow jackets, and wasps. Fire ants can also produce allergic reactions, though these are less common than stings from flying insects.

Medications

Medications can also be allergens. They produce an allergic reaction when your white blood cells misidentify them as a threat. These white blood cells then release antibodies that cause allergic symptoms. Medication allergies can also result in anaphylaxis and something called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Although these severe reactions are rare, they can happen.

All medications can cause an allergy reaction depending on someone’s individual biochemistry. Yet, there are some common culprits: antibiotics (specifically penicillin and amoxicillin), sulfa antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly called NSAIDs, including aspirin and ibuprofen), and chemotherapy medications.  

Suffering from Allergies? UrgentMED Can Help

There you have the most common causes of allergies. Learn them and make sure to stay away from these triggers! If you have a severe allergic reaction, come into Urgent Med today. We accept a wide range of insurances and have competitive pricing if you don’t use insurance. More importantly, you can be in and out on your lunch break and get immediate allergy relief. Come into one of our 18 convenient locations near you today.