Our immune system is a group of special cells, tissues, proteins, and organs which work together to keep us safe. It fights foreign “invaders” and identifies harmful allergens as potential threats. However, in some cases, it misidentifies helpful allergens as threats, triggering a chain of immune reactions to destroy it. The result is type 1 hypersensitivity or something we all know as an allergy.
Animal fur, dust, pollen, and food are among the most common allergy triggers. Here’s a list of the biggest threats to your immune system:
Food allergies are very common. However, they’re often confused for food intolerances. They are not the same. Food allergies trigger an autoimmune (hypersensitive allergic) reaction in the body, while food intolerances cause a non-allergic hypersensitive reaction. The symptoms between them are similar but are far worse when caused by allergies.
If not treated on time, the symptoms can even be fatal, especially if they attack the respiratory system.
The foods that cause allergies most often are eggs, milk, carrots, fish, peanuts, soy, etc.
You’d be surprised to know that latex allergies affect millions of people around the world. Latex is a rubber product used in balloons, condoms, and medicinal gloves among other things. It contains a protein that some people are allergic to when they touch it.
The symptoms usually include rashes and redness on the skin, but in extreme cases, it can lead to anaphylactic shock.
Drug allergies are pretty common right now, even in people who are taking certain drugs for ages. Doctors usually recommend switching meds in this case, but if there’s no replacement you can use, antihistamine therapy is prescribed.
The most common symptoms of drug allergies are skin problems, swelling in the face, labored breathing, and anaphylactic shock.
4. Insect Stings
Insects stings, especially those of bees and hornets, may cause an allergic reaction due to the poison in the stinger. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. The former means tiny bump on the sting area and redness on the skin, while the latter include heavy breathing and possibly even anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylaxis is an extreme allergic reaction caused by antigens the human body is sensitive to. It can cause serious swelling in the face and extremities, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, low blood pressure, and other problems. If not treated on time, anaphylaxis is often fatal.
5. Dust Mites
Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus or dust mites are a pretty common allergy trigger. The microscopic mites inhabit bedding, carpets, and draperies and are nearly impossible to destroy.
Although pretty harmless, they can trigger a wild allergic reaction in some people and cause sneezing and swollen and itchy eyes.
Pollen allergies are very common, especially in spring. Although not life-threatening, the symptoms such as sneezing and nasal congestion are not pleasant at all. Protecting yourself from pollen is almost impossible, but thankfully, antihistamines can help put the problem under control.
There are different kinds of mold and they all release harmful spores in the air. People can develop an allergic reaction to some kinds of mold and it can be pretty hard to control. The symptoms are similar to those of dust mites and pollen allergies. In many cases, mold allergy symptoms can be deadly, so make sure to visit a doctor if you suspect that’s the case.
People allergies to animals are actually allergic to proteins found in the skin, saliva, and urine of the animal. Developing this type of allergy can take years, and the symptoms can last for months.
This type of allergy shares the same symptoms of pollen allergies, although with a higher intensity. You may experience trouble breathing overnight, chest pain, and facial swelling as well.