April 6, 2020

Allergy and Immunology: 8 Types of Allergies You Should Know

Are you suffering from congestion, coughing, watery eyes, or dark circles? Do certain foods cause your mouth to feel tingly or parts of your face […]

Are you suffering from congestion, coughing, watery eyes, or dark circles? Do certain foods cause your mouth to feel tingly or parts of your face to swell? If you experience adverse reactions to harmless substances, you could benefit from allergy treatment. Many people don't realize that their symptoms are the result of allergies, or they believe that allergies are just part of life. At Serenity Health Care Center in Waukesha, WI, we provide educational resources on allergy and immunology. Our testing and treatments can help you overcome an allergic response. Here are 8 common allergies that you should know about.

First, Why Do We Suffer From Allergies?

Allergens Trigger Your Immune System

Allergens are foreign substances that your body believes are harmful. Normally, your immune system does a good job of keeping you safe from poisons, toxins, viruses, fungi, and bacteria. While the allergens themselves are harmless, they trigger immune responses that can cause you to feel unwell.

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) Antibodies Cause Your Symptoms

When your body's defense system encounters an allergen, it releases immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to put up a strong fight. They send signals that trigger responses such as coughing or hives. While we evolved so that these reactions could help us in the face of real danger, the cure is sometimes worse than the disease. In the case of allergies, your body is sounding a false alarm. Unfortunately, this can cause anything from mild discomfort to a life-threatening situation.
Many people experience:

  • Runny nose and congestion
  • Cough
  • Rashes, hives, and itchy skin
  • Itchy eyes that water and swell
  • Dark undereye circles
  • Tingling in the mouth or tongue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling in the face, throat, tongue, or lips
  • Digestive problems including upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Behavioral problems

The Good News About Allergy and Immunology

We Can Treat Allergies

While some people have extremely dangerous allergic reactions and need to monitor their conditions carefully, others only feel mildly inconvenienced. Individuals with less severe reactions sometimes think that they need to live with their allergies, either because they are not aware that treatment is available or because they don't recognize the symptoms for what they are. The problem is that feeling out of sorts impacts your quality of life. Fortunately, whether your symptoms are mild or serious, allergy, and immunology treatments can improve the situation.

Allergy Drops Provide Lasting Relief

We treat allergies with sublingual liquid extracts that our patients take at home. This method provides controlled exposure to the allergen. First, the patient starts with a very light dose that is too small to trigger an allergic response. Over time, we ramp up the concentration. Doing so teaches the body that the allergen is not dangerous.

8 Types of Allergies You Should Know About

1. Pollen Allergies

Pollen is a dust-like substance produced by plants as part of their reproductive process. It is the number one cause of allergy symptoms among people. Hay fever, for example, is a pollen allergy. The pollen can come from many sources, including trees, flowers, grass, weeds, and other types of plants. It often triggers a seasonal allergic response that repeats annually, when the plant in question produces it.

While a common strategy is to avoid the allergen, this is difficult in the case of pollen because it is so prevalent at certain times of year. You could choose to limit your outdoor activities, but that would mean missing out on a lot of fun. Treating a pollen allergy with drops offers a better solution.

2. Dust Allergies

Even inside, you cannot be free of allergens. Dust can become trapped in pillowcases, carpets, and curtains. It can even build up on hard surfaces. In addition to giving you allergies, dust can aggravate chronic conditions like asthma. If you suffer from a dust allergy, airing out your house and cleaning frequently is a must.

3. Pet Allergies

If you are experiencing allergy symptoms, it can be heartbreaking to realize when they are triggered by your pet. Unfortunately, the dander and saliva of almost all domestic animals can irritate some people's immune systems. You might be allergic to certain animals and not others. For example, some people cough and get itchy skin around cats, but are ok with having a dog. Many people with pet allergies choose not to get an animal. However, if you already have one, giving it up can be difficult. Allergy drops can treat you and allow you to keep your furry friend.

4. Mold Allergies

Mold and mildew can pose serious problems for people, especially if they are toxic. Mold allergies are more prevalent in the fall, when decomposing vegetation and piles of leaves are present. In your home, mold can grow in the basement, the bathroom, and the walls. If you think your home has a mold problem, you should have it inspected and take steps to remove the spores.

5. Nut Allergies

Food allergies are a huge category, and nut allergies are among the most common types. In particular, many people are allergic to peanuts, and their immune response can be very dangerous. Sublingual therapy can cure a nut allergy over time, possibly removing a serious source of danger. Otherwise, it is necessary to practice extreme avoidance of peanuts, even if that includes some social isolation at meals.

People who are at risk for anaphylaxis need to carry an EpiPen at all times. Even if you don't have a life-threatening response to nuts, the milder symptoms can have a negative impact on your life. They include swelling, dizziness, digestive problems, and hives.

6. Milk Allergies

Another common food allergen is milk. Dairy products, in general, can also be problematic, including cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. Interestingly, some people who are allergic to other dairy products do not have an issue with butter. People who test positive for a milk allergy can choose to consume non-dairy substitutes, such as almond milk or coconut milk. This assumes, of course, that the person is not also allergic to almonds or coconut.

7. Shellfish Allergies

Like peanuts, a shellfish allergy can be very dangerous. Triggers include shrimp, lobster, squid, scallops, and other marine animals. In its extreme state, an allergic reaction to shellfish can induce anaphylaxis. Other symptoms include fainting, dizziness, hives, eczema, vomiting, trouble, breathing, and swelling.

8. Other Kinds of Food Allergies

Many kinds of foods can induce an allergic reaction. We test for over 50 of the most common triggers. In addition to the ones mentioned above, many people learn that they are allergic to:

  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Eggs

Finding out that you have a food allergy is an important step towards feeling better and possibly saving your life.

We Provide Expert Care in the Field of Allergy and Immunology

It can be surprising to learn that your symptoms are triggered by something that is harmless to many people, such as dust or eggs. However, advances in the field of allergy and immunology make it possible for us to test you for your triggers and provide lasting relief. Understanding your allergies and taking control can greatly improve the quality of your life and possibly help you avoid dangerous situations.

Contact Serenity Health Care Center in Waukesha, WI, for more information on how we can test and treat your allergies. We can help your immune system work for your body instead of against it.

Article written by Dr. Debra Muth

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