What could be causing my allergies

Eye allergies are common. Eye allergies are a reaction to indoor and outdoor allergens that get into your eyes.The tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and exterior of the eyeball becomes inflamed and swollen and leads to itching, redness, tearing and irritation of the eyes.


What Is Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies)?

The expression rhinitis means “inflammation of the nose.” When the nose becomes irritated by allergens or irritants, it may produce more and thicker mucus than usual. This drainage can irritate the back of the throat and cause coughing. Allergic reactions can also cause congestion, itchy nose or throat, sneezing, a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.


What Are Skin Allergies?

Skin allergies happen when your skin comes in contact with an allergen that your skin is sensitive or allergic to.

Also, allergies to other things, love food you eat or proteins you inhale or touch, may cause symptoms to appear on your skin. The allergic reaction generally appears within 48 hours after the initial exposure to the allergen. Symptoms often include the following: redness, swelling, blistering, itching, hives and rashes. The allergen doesn’t own to be new to you. It can be something you’ve been using or eating for numerous years. Common skin allergies include allergic contact dermatitis, eczema, chronic urticaria and angioedema.


What Is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis (anna-fih-LACK-sis) is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

It happens quick and may cause death. Symptoms generally involve more than one part of the body, such as the skin or mouth, the lungs, the heart and the gut. Study more about anaphylaxis.


What Is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the sinuses. A sinus is a hollow space. There are numerous sinuses in the body, including four pairs inside the skull. They serve to lighten the skull and give resonance to the voice. These sinuses are lined with the same helpful of tissue that lines the inside of the nose. The same things that can cause swelling in the nose – such as allergies or infection – can also affect the sinuses. When the tissue inside the sinuses becomes inflamed, mucus discharge is increased.

Over time, air trapped inside the swollen sinuses can create painful pressure inside the head. This is a sinus headache.

Medical Review November 2015.

SYMPTOMS OF AN ALLERGIC REACTION

The severity of symptoms during an allergic reaction can vary widely. Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Hives (a rash with raised red patches)
  3. Runny nose
  4. Itchy, watery eyes
  5. Itchy nose
  6. Sneezing
  7. Stomach cramps
  8. Diarrhea
  9. Rashes
  10. Bloating
  1. Chest tightness and losing your breath
  2. Throat closing
  3. Tongue swelling
  4. Swelling
  5. Redness
  6. Pain
  7. Wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe)
  8. Feeling faint, light-headed or “blacking out”
  9. Cough
  10. A sense of “impending doom”

Some of these symptoms can be sign of a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Allergies to cacao (the bean that is the main ingredient in chocolate) are possible, but they're incredibly rare — so rare that they don't even show up in recent medical literature.

Therefore, if you've experienced food allergy symptoms after eating chocolate, you can safely assume that another ingredient in the chocolate is causing your symptoms unless testing shows otherwise.

If you do experience allergy symptoms, call your doctor as soon as possible to discuss testing. Symptoms of anaphylaxis represent an emergency; take epinephrine immediately, if available, and call for an ambulance.


Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.

This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.

Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021

How Are Allergies Diagnosed?

Some allergies are fairly simple to identify but others are less obvious because they can be similar to other conditions.

If your kid has cold-like symptoms lasting longer than a week or two or develops a «cold» at the same time every year, talk with your doctor, who might diagnose an allergy and prescribe medicines, or may refer you to an allergist(a doctor who is an expert in the treatment of allergies) for allergy tests.

To discover the cause of an allergy, allergists generally do skin tests for the most common environmental and food allergens.

A skin test can work in one of two ways:

  • stomachache
  • throat tightness
  • Wheat. Wheat proteins are found in numerous foods, and some are more obvious than others. Although wheat allergy is often confused with celiac disease, there is a difference. Celiac disease is a sensitivity to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley). But a wheat allergy can do more than make a person feel ill — love other food allergies, it also can cause a life-threatening reaction.
  • A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is scratched with a little pricking device.
  • Keep kids who areallergic to mold away fromdamp areas, such as some basements, and hold bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.
  • Keep family pets out of your child’s bedroom.
  • Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives.

    Generally, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.

  • You can inhale allergens into your nose and your lungs. Many are little enough to float through the air. Examples are pollen, home dust, mold spores, cat and dog dander and latex dust.
  • A little quantity of allergen is injected just under the skin.

    This test stings a little but isn’t painful.

  • itchy nose and/or throat
  • Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your kid is allergic to dust mites.
  • Pet allergens are caused by pet dander (tiny flakes of shed skin) and animal saliva. When pets lick themselves, the saliva gets on their fur or feathers. As the saliva dries, protein particles become airborne and work their way into fabrics in the home. Pet urine also can cause allergies in the same way when it gets on airborne fur or skin, or when a pet pees in a spot that isn’t cleaned.
  • coughing
  • diarrhea
  • Clean when your kid is not in the room.
  • a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
  • Moldsare fungi that thrive both indoors and exterior in warm, moist environments.

    Outdoors, molds can be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles. Indoors, molds thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places such as bathrooms and damp basements. Molds tend to be seasonal, but some can grow year-round, especially those indoors.

  • Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Numerous other others, including over-the-counter medicines (those you can purchase without a prescription), also can cause allergic reactions.
  • Your body can own allergens injected into it. This includes medicine given by needle and venom from insect stings and bites.

  • You can ingest allergens by mouth. This includes food and medicines you eat or swallow.
  • swelling
  • sneezing
  • Fish and shellfish. These allergies are some of the more common adult food allergies and ones that people generally don’t outgrow. Fish and shellfish are from diverse families of food, so having an allergy to one does not necessarily mean someone will be allergicto the other.
  • If your kid has a pollen allergy, hold the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, own your kid take a bath or shower and change clothes after being outdoors, and don’t let him or her mow the lawn.
  • stuffy nose
  • coughing
  • Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room (hard floors don’t collect dust as much as carpets do).
  • Cow’s milk(or cow’s milk protein). Between 2% and 3% of children younger than 3 years ancient are allergic to the proteins found in cow’s milk and cow’s milk-based formulas.

    Most formulas are cow’s milk-based. Milk proteins also can be a hidden ingredient in prepared foods. Numerous kids outgrow milk allergies.

  • Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite. But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.
  • wheezing
  • hives
  • vomiting
  • Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that permit dust to build up.
  • Eggs. Egg allergy can be a challenge for parents. Eggs are used in numerous of the foods kids eat — and in numerous cases they’re «hidden» ingredients.

    Kids tend to outgrow egg allergies as they get older.

  • hoarseness
  • Cockroaches are also a major household allergen, especially in inner cities.

    What could be causing my allergies

    Exposure to cockroach-infested buildings may be a major cause of the high rates of asthma in inner-city kids.

  • Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often calledhay fever or rose fever). Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen.

    Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air and can assist people with allergies predict how bad their symptoms might be on any given day.

    Pollen counts are generally higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days, and lowest when it’s chilly and wet.

  • Soy. Soy allergy is more common among babies than older kids. Numerous infants who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to the protein in soy formulas. Soy proteins are often a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.
  • itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  • Peanuts and tree nuts. Peanut allergies are on the rise, and as are allergies to tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews.

    Most people do not outgrow peanut or tree nut allergies.

  • Dust mites are microscopic insects that live every around us and feed on the millions of dead skin cells that drop off our bodies every day. They’re the main allergic component of home dust. Dust mites are present year-round in most parts of the United States and live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.
  • trouble breathing
  • Your skin can absorb allergens. Plants such as poison ivy, sumac and oak can cause reactions when touched. Latex, metals, and ingredients in beauty care and household products are other examples.

After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area (like a mosquito bite) appears at the site, the test is positive.

Blood tests may be done instead for kids with skin conditions, those who are on certain medicines, or those who are extremely sensitive to a specific allergen.

Even if testing shows an allergy, a kid also must own symptoms to be diagnosed with an allergy.

For example, a toddler who has a positive test for dust mites and sneezes a lot while playing on the floor would be considered allergic to dust mites.

What Things Cause Allergies?

Airborne Allergies

To assist kids avoid airborne allergens:

  1. If your kid has a pollen allergy, hold the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, own your kid take a bath or shower and change clothes after being outdoors, and don’t let him or her mow the lawn.
  2. Clean when your kid is not in the room.
  3. Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room (hard floors don’t collect dust as much as carpets do).
  4. Keep family pets out of your child’s bedroom.
  5. Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that permit dust to build up.
  6. Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your kid is allergic to dust mites.
  7. Keep kids who areallergic to mold away fromdamp areas, such as some basements, and hold bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.

Airborne Allergy Symptoms

Airborne allergens can cause something known as allergic rhinitis, which generally develops by 10 years of age, reaches its peak in the teens or early twenties, and often disappears between the ages of 40 and 60.

Symptoms can include:

  1. stuffy nose
  2. itchy nose and/or throat
  3. sneezing
  4. coughing

When symptoms also include itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, this is called allergic conjunctivitis.

(Dark circles that sometimes show up around the eyes are called allergic «shiners.»)

Common Food Allergens

Up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies. Eight foods account for most of those: cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

  1. Soy. Soy allergy is more common among babies than older kids. Numerous infants who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to the protein in soy formulas. Soy proteins are often a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.
  2. Fish and shellfish. These allergies are some of the more common adult food allergies and ones that people generally don’t outgrow.

    Fish and shellfish are from diverse families of food, so having an allergy to one does not necessarily mean someone will be allergicto the other.

  3. Eggs. Egg allergy can be a challenge for parents. Eggs are used in numerous of the foods kids eat — and in numerous cases they’re «hidden» ingredients. Kids tend to outgrow egg allergies as they get older.
  4. Cow’s milk(or cow’s milk protein). Between 2% and 3% of children younger than 3 years ancient are allergic to the proteins found in cow’s milk and cow’s milk-based formulas.

    Most formulas are cow’s milk-based. Milk proteins also can be a hidden ingredient in prepared foods. Numerous kids outgrow milk allergies.

  5. Peanuts and tree nuts. Peanut allergies are on the rise, and as are allergies to tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews. Most people do not outgrow peanut or tree nut allergies.
  6. Wheat. Wheat proteins are found in numerous foods, and some are more obvious than others.

    Although wheat allergy is often confused with celiac disease, there is a difference. Celiac disease is a sensitivity to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley). But a wheat allergy can do more than make a person feel ill — love other food allergies, it also can cause a life-threatening reaction.

Common Airborne Allergens

Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne (carried through the air):

  1. Pet allergens are caused by pet dander (tiny flakes of shed skin) and animal saliva.

    When pets lick themselves, the saliva gets on their fur or feathers. As the saliva dries, protein particles become airborne and work their way into fabrics in the home. Pet urine also can cause allergies in the same way when it gets on airborne fur or skin, or when a pet pees in a spot that isn’t cleaned.

  2. Moldsare fungi that thrive both indoors and exterior in warm, moist environments. Outdoors, molds can be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles. Indoors, molds thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places such as bathrooms and damp basements.

    Molds tend to be seasonal, but some can grow year-round, especially those indoors.

  3. Dust mites are microscopic insects that live every around us and feed on the millions of dead skin cells that drop off our bodies every day. They’re the main allergic component of home dust. Dust mites are present year-round in most parts of the United States and live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.
  4. Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often calledhay fever or rose fever). Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants.

    What could be causing my allergies

    Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen.

    Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air and can assist people with allergies predict how bad their symptoms might be on any given day. Pollen counts are generally higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days, and lowest when it’s chilly and wet.

  5. Cockroaches are also a major household allergen, especially in inner cities.

    Exposure to cockroach-infested buildings may be a major cause of the high rates of asthma in inner-city kids.

Other Common Allergens

  1. Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Numerous other others, including over-the-counter medicines (those you can purchase without a prescription), also can cause allergic reactions.
  2. Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite.

    But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.

  3. Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives. Generally, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Some kids also own what are called cross-reactions.

For example, kids who are allergic to birch pollen might own symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple is made up of a protein similar to one in the pollen. And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy (found in latex gloves and some kinds of hospital equipment) are more likely to be allergic to foods likekiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.

How Do Allergies Happen?

An allergy happens when the immune system& overreacts to an allergen, treating it as an invader and trying to fight it off.

This causes symptoms that can range from annoying to serious or even life-threatening.

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies then cause certain cells to release chemicals (including histamine) into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen «invader.»

It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.

Some allergies are seasonal and happen only at certain times of the year (like when pollen counts are high); others can happen anytime someone comes in contact with an allergen.

So, when a person with a food allergy eats that specific food or someone who’s allergic to dust mites is exposed to them, they will own an allergic reaction.

Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.

This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.

Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people. When a person is allergic to something, the immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harming the body.

Substances that cause allergic reactions — such as some foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines — are known as allergens.

Allergies are a major cause of illness in the United States. Up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, own some type of allergy.

In fact, allergies cause about 2 million missed school days each year.

Who Gets Allergies?

The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed below through genes from parents to their kids. But just because you, your partner, or one of your children might own allergies doesn’t mean that every of your kids will definitely get them. And someone generally doesn’t inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies.

Some kids own allergies even if no family member is allergic, and those who are allergic to one thing are likely to be allergic to others.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Allergies?

The type and severity of allergy symptoms vary from allergy to allergy and person to person.

Allergies may show up as itchy eyes, sneezing, a stuffy nose, throat tightness, trouble breathing, vomiting, and even fainting or passing out.

Kids with severe allergies (such as those to food, medicine, or insect venom) can be at risk for a sudden, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can happen just seconds after being exposed to an allergen or not until a few hours later (if the reaction is from a food).

So doctors will desire anyone diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of an emergency.

What could be causing my allergies

Epinephrine works quickly against serious allergy symptoms; for example, it reduces swelling and raises low blood pressure.

Food, Medicines, or Insect Allergy Symptoms

  1. hives
  2. diarrhea
  3. throat tightness
  4. wheezing
  5. coughing
  6. trouble breathing
  7. itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  8. swelling
  9. hoarseness
  10. stomachache
  11. vomiting
  12. a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

Allergic reactions can vary. Sometimes, a person can own a mild reaction that affects only one body system, love hives on the skin.

Other times, the reaction can be more serious and involve more than one part of the body. A mild reaction in the past does not mean that future reactions will be mild.

How Are Allergies Treated?

There’s no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The best way to manage with them is to avoid the allergens. That means that parents must educate their kids early and often, not only about the allergy itself, but also about the reactions they can own if they consume or come into contact with the allergen.

Telling every caregivers (childcare staff, teachers, family members, parents of your child’s friends, etc.) about your child’s allergy is also important.

If avoiding environmental allergens isn’t possible or doesn’t assist, doctors might prescribe medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays.

(Many of these also are available without a prescription.)

In some cases, doctors recommend allergy shots(immunotherapy) to assist desensitize a person to an allergen. But allergy shots are only helpful for allergens such as dust, mold, pollens, animals, and insect stings. They’re not used for food allergies.

Food Allergies

Kids with food allergies must completely avoid products made with their allergens. This can be tough as allergens are found in numerous unexpected foods and products.

Always read labels to see if a packaged food contains your child’s allergen.

Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must state in understandable language whether foods contain any of the top eight most common allergens. This label requirement makes things a little easier. But it’s significant to remember that «safe» foods could become unsafe if food companies change ingredients, processes, or production locations.

Cross-contamination means that the allergen is not one of the ingredients in a product, but might own come into contact with it during production or packaging.

Companies are not required to label for cross-contamination risk, though some voluntarily do so. You may see statements such as «May contain…,» «Processed in a facility that also processes…,» or «Manufactured on equipment also used for ….»

Because products without such statements also might be cross-contaminated and the company did not label for it, it’s always best to contact the company to see if the product could contain your child’s allergen.

Glance for this information on the company’s website or email a company representative.

Cross-contamination also can happen at home or in restaurants when kitchen surfaces or utensils are used for diverse foods.

What Are the Symptoms of an Allergy?

An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it. The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction. The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens. Allergens can get into your body numerous ways to cause an allergic reaction.

  1. Your body can own allergens injected into it. This includes medicine given by needle and venom from insect stings and bites.

  2. You can ingest allergens by mouth. This includes food and medicines you eat or swallow.
  3. You can inhale allergens into your nose and your lungs. Many are little enough to float through the air. Examples are pollen, home dust, mold spores, cat and dog dander and latex dust.
  4. Your skin can absorb allergens. Plants such as poison ivy, sumac and oak can cause reactions when touched.

    Latex, metals, and ingredients in beauty care and household products are other examples.

After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area (like a mosquito bite) appears at the site, the test is positive.

Blood tests may be done instead for kids with skin conditions, those who are on certain medicines, or those who are extremely sensitive to a specific allergen.

Even if testing shows an allergy, a kid also must own symptoms to be diagnosed with an allergy. For example, a toddler who has a positive test for dust mites and sneezes a lot while playing on the floor would be considered allergic to dust mites.

What Things Cause Allergies?

Airborne Allergies

To assist kids avoid airborne allergens:

  1. If your kid has a pollen allergy, hold the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, own your kid take a bath or shower and change clothes after being outdoors, and don’t let him or her mow the lawn.
  2. Clean when your kid is not in the room.
  3. Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room (hard floors don’t collect dust as much as carpets do).
  4. Keep family pets out of your child’s bedroom.
  5. Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that permit dust to build up.
  6. Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your kid is allergic to dust mites.
  7. Keep kids who areallergic to mold away fromdamp areas, such as some basements, and hold bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.

Airborne Allergy Symptoms

Airborne allergens can cause something known as allergic rhinitis, which generally develops by 10 years of age, reaches its peak in the teens or early twenties, and often disappears between the ages of 40 and 60.

Symptoms can include:

  1. stuffy nose
  2. itchy nose and/or throat
  3. sneezing
  4. coughing

When symptoms also include itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, this is called allergic conjunctivitis.

(Dark circles that sometimes show up around the eyes are called allergic «shiners.»)

Common Food Allergens

Up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies. Eight foods account for most of those: cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

  1. Soy. Soy allergy is more common among babies than older kids. Numerous infants who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to the protein in soy formulas. Soy proteins are often a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.
  2. Fish and shellfish. These allergies are some of the more common adult food allergies and ones that people generally don’t outgrow.

    Fish and shellfish are from diverse families of food, so having an allergy to one does not necessarily mean someone will be allergicto the other.

  3. Eggs. Egg allergy can be a challenge for parents. Eggs are used in numerous of the foods kids eat — and in numerous cases they’re «hidden» ingredients.

    What could be causing my allergies

    Kids tend to outgrow egg allergies as they get older.

  4. Cow’s milk(or cow’s milk protein). Between 2% and 3% of children younger than 3 years ancient are allergic to the proteins found in cow’s milk and cow’s milk-based formulas. Most formulas are cow’s milk-based. Milk proteins also can be a hidden ingredient in prepared foods. Numerous kids outgrow milk allergies.
  5. Peanuts and tree nuts. Peanut allergies are on the rise, and as are allergies to tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews.

    Most people do not outgrow peanut or tree nut allergies.

  6. Wheat. Wheat proteins are found in numerous foods, and some are more obvious than others. Although wheat allergy is often confused with celiac disease, there is a difference. Celiac disease is a sensitivity to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley). But a wheat allergy can do more than make a person feel ill — love other food allergies, it also can cause a life-threatening reaction.

Common Airborne Allergens

Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne (carried through the air):

  1. Pet allergens are caused by pet dander (tiny flakes of shed skin) and animal saliva.

    When pets lick themselves, the saliva gets on their fur or feathers. As the saliva dries, protein particles become airborne and work their way into fabrics in the home.

    What could be causing my allergies

    Pet urine also can cause allergies in the same way when it gets on airborne fur or skin, or when a pet pees in a spot that isn’t cleaned.

  2. Moldsare fungi that thrive both indoors and exterior in warm, moist environments. Outdoors, molds can be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles. Indoors, molds thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places such as bathrooms and damp basements. Molds tend to be seasonal, but some can grow year-round, especially those indoors.
  3. Dust mites are microscopic insects that live every around us and feed on the millions of dead skin cells that drop off our bodies every day.

    They’re the main allergic component of home dust. Dust mites are present year-round in most parts of the United States and live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.

  4. Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often calledhay fever or rose fever). Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen.

    Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air and can assist people with allergies predict how bad their symptoms might be on any given day. Pollen counts are generally higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days, and lowest when it’s chilly and wet.

  5. Cockroaches are also a major household allergen, especially in inner cities. Exposure to cockroach-infested buildings may be a major cause of the high rates of asthma in inner-city kids.

Other Common Allergens

  1. Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Numerous other others, including over-the-counter medicines (those you can purchase without a prescription), also can cause allergic reactions.
  2. Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite.

    What could be causing my allergies

    But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.

  3. Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives. Generally, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Some kids also own what are called cross-reactions.

For example, kids who are allergic to birch pollen might own symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple is made up of a protein similar to one in the pollen. And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy (found in latex gloves and some kinds of hospital equipment) are more likely to be allergic to foods likekiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.

How Do Allergies Happen?

An allergy happens when the immune system& overreacts to an allergen, treating it as an invader and trying to fight it off. This causes symptoms that can range from annoying to serious or even life-threatening.

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

These antibodies then cause certain cells to release chemicals (including histamine) into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen «invader.»

It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.

Some allergies are seasonal and happen only at certain times of the year (like when pollen counts are high); others can happen anytime someone comes in contact with an allergen.

What could be causing my allergies

So, when a person with a food allergy eats that specific food or someone who’s allergic to dust mites is exposed to them, they will own an allergic reaction.

Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.

This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.

Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people.

When a person is allergic to something, the immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harming the body.

Substances that cause allergic reactions — such as some foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines — are known as allergens.

Allergies are a major cause of illness in the United States. Up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, own some type of allergy. In fact, allergies cause about 2 million missed school days each year.

Who Gets Allergies?

The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed below through genes from parents to their kids.

But just because you, your partner, or one of your children might own allergies doesn’t mean that every of your kids will definitely get them. And someone generally doesn’t inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies.

Some kids own allergies even if no family member is allergic, and those who are allergic to one thing are likely to be allergic to others.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Allergies?

The type and severity of allergy symptoms vary from allergy to allergy and person to person.

Allergies may show up as itchy eyes, sneezing, a stuffy nose, throat tightness, trouble breathing, vomiting, and even fainting or passing out.

Kids with severe allergies (such as those to food, medicine, or insect venom) can be at risk for a sudden, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can happen just seconds after being exposed to an allergen or not until a few hours later (if the reaction is from a food).

So doctors will desire anyone diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of an emergency.

Epinephrine works quickly against serious allergy symptoms; for example, it reduces swelling and raises low blood pressure.

Food, Medicines, or Insect Allergy Symptoms

  1. hives
  2. diarrhea
  3. throat tightness
  4. wheezing
  5. coughing
  6. trouble breathing
  7. itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  8. swelling
  9. hoarseness
  10. stomachache
  11. vomiting
  12. a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

Allergic reactions can vary.

Sometimes, a person can own a mild reaction that affects only one body system, love hives on the skin. Other times, the reaction can be more serious and involve more than one part of the body. A mild reaction in the past does not mean that future reactions will be mild.

How Are Allergies Treated?

There’s no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The best way to manage with them is to avoid the allergens. That means that parents must educate their kids early and often, not only about the allergy itself, but also about the reactions they can own if they consume or come into contact with the allergen.

Telling every caregivers (childcare staff, teachers, family members, parents of your child’s friends, etc.) about your child’s allergy is also important.

If avoiding environmental allergens isn’t possible or doesn’t assist, doctors might prescribe medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays.

(Many of these also are available without a prescription.)

In some cases, doctors recommend allergy shots(immunotherapy) to assist desensitize a person to an allergen. But allergy shots are only helpful for allergens such as dust, mold, pollens, animals, and insect stings. They’re not used for food allergies.

Food Allergies

Kids with food allergies must completely avoid products made with their allergens. This can be tough as allergens are found in numerous unexpected foods and products.

Always read labels to see if a packaged food contains your child’s allergen. Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must state in understandable language whether foods contain any of the top eight most common allergens.

This label requirement makes things a little easier. But it’s significant to remember that «safe» foods could become unsafe if food companies change ingredients, processes, or production locations.

Cross-contamination means that the allergen is not one of the ingredients in a product, but might own come into contact with it during production or packaging. Companies are not required to label for cross-contamination risk, though some voluntarily do so.

You may see statements such as «May contain…,» «Processed in a facility that also processes…,» or «Manufactured on equipment also used for ….»

Because products without such statements also might be cross-contaminated and the company did not label for it, it’s always best to contact the company to see if the product could contain your child’s allergen. Glance for this information on the company’s website or email a company representative.

Cross-contamination also can happen at home or in restaurants when kitchen surfaces or utensils are used for diverse foods.

What Are the Symptoms of an Allergy?

An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it.

The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction. The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens. Allergens can get into your body numerous ways to cause an allergic reaction.

  1. Your body can own allergens injected into it. This includes medicine given by needle and venom from insect stings and bites.
  2. You can ingest allergens by mouth. This includes food and medicines you eat or swallow.
  3. You can inhale allergens into your nose and your lungs. Many are little enough to float through the air. Examples are pollen, home dust, mold spores, cat and dog dander and latex dust.

  4. Your skin can absorb allergens. Plants such as poison ivy, sumac and oak can cause reactions when touched. Latex, metals, and ingredients in beauty care and household products are other examples.


Main allergy symptoms

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  1. tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
  2. a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
  3. itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
  4. sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
  5. wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
  6. swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
  7. dry, red and cracked skin

The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.

For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you own a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.

See your GP if you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something. They can assist determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.

Read more about diagnosing allergies.


RELATED VIDEO: