What are the most common allergies
Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.
The more common allergens include:
- mould – these can release little particles into the air that you can breathe in
- grass and tree pollen – an allergy to these is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- food – particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cows’ milk
- medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
- dust mites
- insect bites and stings
- latex – used to make some gloves and condoms
- animal dander, tiny flakes of skin or hair
- household chemicals – including those in detergents and hair dyes
Most of these allergens are generally harmless to people who are not allergic to them.
How to manage an allergy
In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible.
For example, if you own a food allergy, you should check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.
There are also several medicines available to help control symptoms of allergic reactions, including:
- lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams (emollients) – these can reduce skin redness and itchiness
- antihistamines – these can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
- decongestants – tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
- steroid medicines – sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets that can assist reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction
For some people with extremely severe allergies, a treatment called immunotherapy may be recommended.
This involves being exposed to the allergen in a controlled way over a number of years so your body gets used to it and does not react to it so severely.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction
Allergic reactions generally happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
They can cause:
- a red, itchy rash
- red, itchy, watery eyes
- wheezing and coughing
- a runny or blocked nose
- worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can happen.
This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.
What causes allergies?
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a specific substance as though it’s harmful.
It’s not clear why this happens, but most people affected own a family history of allergies or own closely related conditions, such as asthma or eczema.
The number of people with allergies is increasing every year.
The reasons for this are not understood, but 1 of the main theories is it’s the result of living in a cleaner, germ-free environment, which reduces the number of germs our immune system has to deal with.
It’s thought this may cause it to overreact when it comes into contact with harmless substances.
Is it an allergy, sensitivity or intolerance?
The exaggeration of the normal effects of a substance. For example, the caffeine in a cup of coffee may cause extreme symptoms, such as palpitations and trembling.
A reaction produced by the body’s immune system when exposed to a normally harmless substance.
Where a substance causes unpleasant symptoms, such as diarrhoea, but does not involve the immune system.
People with an intolerance to certain foods can typically eat a little quantity without having any problems.
Sheet final reviewed: 22 November
Next review due: 22 November
Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction caused when plants release pollen into the air, generally in the spring or drop.
Numerous people use hay fever as a colloquial term for these seasonal allergies and the inflammation of the nose and airways.
But hay fever is a misnomer, said Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat doctor and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
«It is not an allergy to hay,» Josephson, author of the book «Sinus Relief Now» (Perigee Trade, ), told Live Science. «Rather, it is an allergy to weeds that pollinate.»
Doctors and researchers prefer the phrase allergic rhinitis to describe the condition.
More than 50 million people experience some type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In , % of adults and % of children reported own allergic rhinitis symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, between 10 and 30% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis, Josephson said.
In , spring arrived early in some parts of the country and later in others, according to the National Phenology Network (NPN). Spring brings blooming plants and, for some, lots of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny noses. According to NPN data, spring reared its head about two weeks early in areas of California, Nevada and numerous of the Southern and Southeastern states.
Much of California, for example, is preparing for a brutal allergy season due to the large quantity of winter rain. On the other hand, spring ranged from about one to two weeks tardy in the Northwest, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. [Watch a Massive ‘Pollen Cloud’ Explode from Late-Blooming Tree]
Getting assist for allergies
See a GP if you ponder you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can also be caused by other conditions.
A GP can assist determine whether it’s likely you own an allergy.
If they ponder you might own a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to assist manage the condition.
If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.
Find out more about allergy testing
Most Common Allergies
Rhinitis means inflammation of the lining of the nose Rhinitis is defined clinically as symptoms of runny nose itching, sneezing and nasal blockage (congestion)..
Common causes of rhinitis are allergies which may be seasonal (‘hayfever’) or happen all-year-round (examples include allergy to home dust mite, cats, dogs and moulds).Infections which may be acute or chronic represent another common cause. Rhinitis (whether due to allergic or other causes) is a risk factor for the development of asthma. Rhinitis is also implicated in otitis media with effusion and in sinusitis which should rightly be termed rhinosinusitis since sinus inflammation almost always involves the nasal passages as well.
Allergy in Children
The bulk of allergic disease occurs in childhood, with asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema and food allergy comprising a significant percentage of the workload of doctors dealing with children in primary care and hospital paediatric departments. In a recent large UK survey, 20% of children were reported to own had asthma in the previous year, 18% had allergic rhino conjunctivitis (hay fever) and 16% had eczema. This represents a massive increase in prevalence compared with similar studies in the s where prevalence rates were 3 fold lower.
Of these children 47% had at least two co-existing conditions e.g. asthma and eczema.
Atopic Eczema (Dermatitis)
Eczema is a pattern of itchy skin rash consisting of tiny pink bumps that may join together producing ill-defined pink or red patches. There are numerous types of eczema – some own known causes.
Dermatitis is the term used for eczema reactions that are caused by external agents/factors. Atopic eczema is often referred to as “infantile” of childhood eczema because that is when it generally develops. Atopic eczema is generally associated with allergies (hayfever or asthma) in either the affected individuals or in their shut relatives. Read more
Prescription drugs own been through a rigorous process of testing to ensure safety, despite this, a minority of individuals will develop side-effects.
Side- effects are termed “adverse drug reactions” by doctors and although the majority of adverse drug reactions are relatively minor and may even permit continuation with the drug, in some cases more severe symptoms can more
What is asthma?
Asthma is a condition that causes swelling and inflammation inside the airways of the lungs. This inflammation and swelling is there to a greater or lesser degree every the time in people with more inflammation there is the harder it becomes to breathe.
People with asthma also own over-sensitive airways, so their airways react to triggers that do not affect other people. When sufferers come into contact with something that irritates their airways (a trigger), it can cause their airways to narrow. Read more
Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
If someone reacts to a food, they may own a Food Hypersensitivity (FHS). FHS reactions involving the immune system are known as food allergy (FA), every other reactions are classified as food intolerances (FI). Read more
The allergic process can affect the skin producing 2 main types of rashes namely urticaria (hives, nettlerash, welts) or eczema (see atopic dermatitis section).
Urticaria is a red itchy bumpy rash that is often short-lived and can appear in various shapes and sizes anywhere on the is extremely common affecting 1 in 5 of the population at sometime in their some people urticaria is accompanied by large dramatic swellings commonly affecting lips, eyelids, tongue and hand called angioedema.
An allergy is a reaction the body has to a specific food or substance.
Allergies are extremely common.
They’re thought to affect more than 1 in 4 people in the UK at some point in their lives.
They’re particularly common in children. Some allergies go away as a kid gets older, although many are lifelong.
Adults can develop allergies to things they were not previously allergic to.
Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect your everyday activities, but most allergic reactions are mild and can be largely kept under control.
Severe reactions can occasionally happen, but these are uncommon.