Allergies are common for many Americans, but they can make life miserable, especially if you can't identify the cause of your allergies. In some cases, they can make you avoid certain activities or areas. If you would like to know more about allergies so you can better protect yourself, keep reading.
What Are the Most Common Types of Allergies?
Anyone can be allergic to anything, but there are some allergies that are more common than others. Hay fever is one of the most common, and it is triggered by grass and tree pollen, so you may only experience symptoms during spring.
Many other people suffer from allergies when exposed to animal dander, which can make having a pet impossible or miserable. Food allergies are also common, particularly allergies to nuts, fruits, shellfish, and cows' milk. Other common allergies include dust mites, insect bites, insect stings, medications, latex, and mold.
What Are the Symptoms of Allergies?
The symptoms of allergies mimic those of a cold because allergies are triggered by your body's natural immune system (much like how it attacks viruses and bacterial infections). The immune system fights the allergen, which can lead to sneezing, running nose, itchy eyes, rash, coughing, and worsening of asthma.
These symptoms often come on fast once you have been exposed to the allergen. In severe cases, an allergic reaction could lead to anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening reaction to allergies that may present with feeling lightheaded, breathing difficulties, fast heartbeat, confusion, and losing consciousness.
How Can You Identify Allergens?
If you're lucky, you may be able to easily identify your allergen. For example, if you only experience symptoms during spring when walking outside under trees, you probably have hay fever. However, some people can't identify their allergies, or they have multiple allergies. It can make life miserable if you suddenly don't know when you might start sneezing and coughing.
Luckily, you can take an allergy test. During an allergy test, a small amount of skin is exposed to the possible irritant. If it reacts, you have an allergy. Once you've identified your allergies, you can avoid them or take steps to reduce the symptoms, such as taking medication.
Allergies affect many people, and while most only cause mild symptoms, some people can have life-threatening symptoms when exposed to allergens. Allergy testing is a great way to identify your allergy triggers, so you can better protect yourself. If you would like to know more, contact an allergy testing provider in your area or online.