Allergy Symptoms and Diagnosis | Everyday health

If you suspect you have allergies, write down your symptoms, including when they start and what seems to trigger them. Information about potential allergy triggers will help your doctor take your medical history.

The reason why people’s allergy symptoms are triggered by different things (allergens) has to do with certain antibodies produced by the body’s immune system.

Antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) are produced when the immune system overreacts to allergens, explains the AAAAI.

They trigger a cellular chain reaction leading to an allergic reaction. Each type of IgE has a “radar” for a specific allergen, so the allergic reaction is a response to that particular trigger.

There are many things that can cause allergies. Some of the more common allergens include:


Pollens are tiny reproductive cells produced by plants. Many species of trees, grasses, and weeds produce pollen, which is then carried by the wind and can cause allergic rhinitis, MedlinePlus notes.

Pollen is one of the most common seasonal allergy triggers, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

These allergies usually occur in early spring, summer, and fall, but can occur at different times of the year depending on weather conditions and where you live.


Animal fur or hair, contrary to popular belief, is not a major cause of allergies. But it can collect dust, mold, pollen and other allergens. More commonly, pet dander (dead skin cells), saliva, and urine can trigger an allergic reaction, according to a January 2016 article published in F1000To research.

Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies, according to the AAFA.

Although some breeds may be more allergic than others, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat.


More than 170 foods can cause allergies, but 90% of all food allergens belong to certain groups, including fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, wheat, soy, tree nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts). , and macadamia nuts), and peanuts, noted an article published in Clinical and translational allergy.

An estimated 8% of American children have food allergies, according to a survey published in December 2018 in Pediatrics.


According to the AAFA, mold, a type of fungus, can live almost anywhere and thrives in moist environments.

Mold spores (which are even smaller than pollen) are released into the air, where they are spread by wind or humidity and can be inhaled.

Although there are many types of mold, only a few cause allergies. When indoors (typically in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements), they can cause allergy symptoms year-round.


Cockroaches and their droppings are a common trigger for allergies and asthma. According to the AAFA, studies show that children with allergies and exposure to cockroaches need to go to hospital for asthma more than other children with asthma.


Mites are tiny, eight-legged creatures too small to see with the naked eye. They are also one of the most common year-round triggers of allergies. Mites feed on tiny pieces of human skin. According to the AAFA, humans shed approximately 1.5 grams (g) of skin cells per day, which is enough to feed one million dust mites.

Insect bites and stings

Most people recover from a insect or bee sting within hours or days with minor pain, itching and swelling at the site.

Biting insects inject small amounts of venom, which can cause a life-threatening reaction in people with allergies. The stings of five insects – bees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets and fire ants – are known to cause allergic reactions, notes the ACAAI.

Fortunately, most biting insects, such as mosquitoes or fleas, rarely cause extreme reactions.


Latex is a natural rubber used in products such as balloons and disposable gloves. A latex allergy can cause a mild allergic reaction (swelling, redness and itching) upon contact with the skin, according to the AAFA.

In rare cases, latex can cause hives, difficulty breathing, or even anaphylaxis.

Less than 1% of Americans have a latex allergy. It’s more common among healthcare workers and other people who regularly wear latex gloves. People who have had multiple surgeries in their lifetime, especially children with spina bifada, are also at increased risk. The synthetic latex present in the paint does not cause allergies.


Medicines can cause allergic and non-allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can be mild (such as a rash or nasal symptoms) or life-threatening (anaphylaxis).

All drugs can cause side effects, but only 5 to 10 percent of adverse effects are allergic, notes the AAAAI.

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