Allergy & Immunology
Allergy symptoms can include headaches, red, itching eyes, rashes and itching skin, flu-like symptoms, wheezing, vomiting, hives, and, in severe cases, life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
- Pollen: More than 25 million Americans are allergic to pollen from trees, grass, or weeds, most common in the Spring and Summer.
- Ragweed, mold and dust mites: These are the biggest allergy triggers in the fall.
- Hay fever: Also known as allergic rhinitis, this is an immune disorder characterized by an allergic response to pollen grains.
- Mold: We are exposed to mold every day, and can have a reaction if we’re around too much of it.
- Dust mites: For creatures you can’t even see, dust mites can stir up a lot of trouble.
- Pets: About 10% of the U.S. population has pet allergies and cats are among the most common culprits.
- Milk: Strictly avoiding milk and food containing milk products is the only way to prevent a reaction if you are allergic, which can include immediate wheezing, vomiting, and hives.
- Casein: If a glass of milk or slice of pizza causes swollen lips, hives, or other symptoms, you may have an allergy to casein. Another milk protein associated with allergies is whey. Some people are allergic to both.
- Eggs: Egg allergies are more common in children than in adults.
- Wheats: This is particularly difficult, as wheat is in so many foods.
- Nuts: Strictly avoiding nuts, including peanuts and tree nuts like cashews and walnuts, and food containing nuts is the only way to prevent a reaction.
- Fish and Shellfish: If you’re allergic to one kind of fish or shellfish, you likely will have problems with others.
- Sulfite: This is a group of sulfur-based compounds that may occur naturally or may be added to food as an enhancer and preservative. The FDA estimates that one out of 100 people is sensitive to the compounds.
- Soy: It would be simple if all you needed to do for a soy allergy was skip the soy sauce and tofu, but soy products are a big part of processed foods.
Skin and Eye Allergies
- Contact Dermatitis: Something touches your skin, and your immune system thinks it’s under attack. It overreacts and sends antibodies to help fight the invader, resulting in a red, itchy rash.
- Hives (Urticaria) and Angioedema: Hives, also known as urticaria, are an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps, patches, or welts on the skin that appear suddenly. In angioedema, the swelling happens under the skin, not on the surface.
- Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac: These are plants that contain an irritating, oily sap called urushiol that triggers an allergic reaction when it comes into contact with skin, which can appear within hours of exposure or up to several days later.
- Insect Stings: Bee, wasp, yellow jacket, hornet, or fire ant stings often trigger allergies. Sometimes we mistake a normal sting reaction for an allergic reaction.
- Sun: Some people develop exaggerated skin reactions to sunlight.
- Cosmetics: Some beauty products can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
- Nickel: A nickel allergy is a skin reaction that develops after exposure to nickel or items containing the metal.
- Eyes: Millions have allergy symptoms involving their eyes. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) is one of the most common and treatable.
Drug and Other Allergies
- Aspirin (Salicylate): If you’re allergic to chemicals called salicylates, you may need to avoid certain foods and medicines.
- Penicillin: Since the 1940s, penicillin has been a go-to drug to clear up infections caused by bacteria. An allergy to penicillin can greatly complicate the fight against infection.
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You should schedule an appointment if you suffer from one or more of these symptoms.