When it comes to allergies, many people suffer from them without really understanding what causes them. Allergies are immune responses triggered by something that is normally harmless. The body’s reaction to an allergen can range from minor irritation to a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis.
What causes an allergic reaction in one person may not cause a reaction in another. There are many known allergens, and in this article, we will detail the most common allergens.
The most common environmental allergens are pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold. These allergens can be found both indoors and outdoors.
- Pollen is a major outdoor allergen that comes from trees, grasses, weeds, and other plants during certain seasons of the year.
- Dust mite droppings are one of the most common indoor environmental allergens, as they live in bedding materials such as mattresses and pillows where people spend much time sleeping or relaxing.
- Animal dander is another highly prevalent indoor allergen that consists of tiny particles shed by cats, dogs, or other furry animals when they groom themselves with their saliva or urine. These particles then float through the air to cause allergic reactions in some individuals who have sensitivities to them.
- Mold also tends to thrive indoors due to high humidity levels. For instance, the dampness in the bathroom, laundry room, or basement makes it easy for mold to grow on the walls, ceiling, and tiles. Mold releases spores that can cause allergic reactions.
Stinging Insect Allergies
Insects such as bees, wasps, and ants can cause allergic reactions in some people. These allergies are caused by the venom of these insects, which contain proteins that trigger an immune response when they come into contact with human skin.
Fabric and Clothing Allergies
Fabric and clothing can cause skin allergies in some people due to the materials that are used. Common fabrics such as wool, silk, nylon, and polyester contain fibers that can irritate sensitive skin or trigger an allergic reaction.
Certain dyes and finishes on fabric can also be allergenic for those who have sensitivities to certain chemicals. Dyes like formaldehyde resin are often used on clothes, but they may not always be listed among the ingredients because it is considered a ‘finish’ rather than a dye itself. Other common allergens include latex found in elastic bands around collars or cuffs of shirts or pants, perfumes added during the production process, which linger in synthetic fibers after washing, and nickel-containing buttons, which could rub against skin and lead to irritation/allergic reaction over time.
Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts and cashews), eggs, dairy products (including milk and cheese), wheat, soybeans, fish, and shellfish. Food allergies are associated with severe reactions, such as anaphylaxis, and should be managed immediately.
While there is typically no permanent cure for allergies, treatment can help with managing the symptoms and make them more manageable. A combination of medication, avoidance, and lifestyle changes can make a big difference in people with allergies. Allergy doctors can also provide immunotherapy to the right candidate, which can train the body over time to not overreact to a substance.
Allergy Treatment in Georgetown, TX
Georgetown ENT in Georgetown, Texas, specializes in the treatment of patients with allergies. Dr. Scott William Franklin is a board-certified ENT doctor with advanced training in allergy treatment, offers a highly supportive and individualized treatment for patients with allergies, and can determine the approach that works best for you.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Franklin, call our ENT clinic today at (512) 869-0604, or use our online form to send a request.