Allergies

About Allergies continued....

Meet the Perpetrators - Common Allergens

Although it is possible to become allergic to anything, scientists have found a pattern - common antigens that many people react to. We've organized them into types: food, airborne, chemical, medicine, and metals.

Some food allergens (not a complete list):

  • Dairy (milk, ice cream, etc)
  • Eggs
  • Wheat products
  • Soy
  • Nuts
  • Seafood
  • Fruits (strawberry, mango, peach)

Possible reactions:

  • Rash (small, reddish bumps that look like pimples) around mouth
  • Hives (raised bumps - bigger than rash that look like insect bites) around mouth or anywhere on body
  • Vomit
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing (result of swelling in throat)

What to do? Consult a physician, identify the food (process of elimination), and not eat it again.

Most Common Airborne Allergens:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Animal dander

These are harder to identify because they are small and in the air.

What to do to avoid exposure? Unless you want to live in a sterile bubble, there really is no way to eliminate exposure to airborne allergens. You can try to minimize exposure by keeping your windows shut on windy and high pollen count days and use the air conditioning system in your vehicle to filter the air. There are many air purifiers and filters available for use around the house as well. Most of us opt for over the counter antihistamines.

Consult your allergist for possible solutions. Options depend on the severity of your allergy and your personal preferences about pharmaceutical medicines.

If you are allergic to dust mites, the best course of action is to keep dust down in the house by dusting and vacuuming (use HEPA filter), and by washing sheets and towels in HOT water. Again, consult your allergist for more options.

Every one of us sheds skin. It's a natural process. The dead skin flakes are called "dander" and some of us are allergic to it. If you have animal dander allergies, the best thing to do is limit your exposure to cute, fuzzy, furry animals.

Some Common Chemical Allergens:

  • Perfumes
  • Dyes
  • Latex products
  • Laundry detergents

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