Types of Allergies: 7 Common Triggers, Symptoms, and More

It’s not uncommon for people to develop allergies to various animals, foods, medications, and other substances. People with severe allergies may want to carry an EpiPen. An allergy is an immune system response to a substance called an allergen. Common allergens include pollen, mold, insect venom, tree nuts, and latex. Some allergies, such as pollen, are seasonal and can often be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Other allergies, such as latex, are best treated by avoiding the allergen.

Food allergies 

Food allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to specific proteins found in food. They’re different than food intolerances, such as a gluten intolerance. Food allergies can cause sudden and severe reactions. In some cases, they may be life-threatening.

Foods most commonly connected to food allergies include:

  • fish
  • shellfish
  • tree nuts
  • peanuts
  • milk
  • eggs

People with food allergies often carry fast-acting injectable treatment, such as an epinephrine pen (EpiPen), with them at all times in case of exposure. They’re also advised to avoid any foods that could contain an allergen.

Drug allergies 

There are multiple possible reactions to a variety of medications. Not all drug reactions are allergic reactions. However, people may experience symptoms such as rashes or difficulty breathing that can indicate an allergy to a medication.

Medications that are most often linked to allergic reactions include:

  • antibiotics
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • aspirin
  • chemotherapy medications
  • anticonvulsants
  • monoclonal antibody therapy

Healthcare professionals diagnose drug allergies by assessing your symptoms and your medical and medication history. You might also have a skin test done to see if an allergic reaction occurs.

If you’re allergic to a specific medication, your healthcare professional can find alternate treatment options.

Insect allergies

Both stinging and non-stinging insects can cause allergic reactions. Stinging insect allergies include allergies to insects such as bees, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. People with this allergy have an immune system response to the venom these insects carry in their stingers.

They can experience severe symptoms, including a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.

Non-stinging insects that can cause allergic reactions include cockroaches and tiny insect-like organisms like dust mites. Immune system reactions to these insects can cause year-round allergies that are more severe indoors. They can also aggravate conditions such as asthma.

Some people with severe allergies to stinging insects carry an EpiPen to make sure they’ll be prepared if they come in contact with insect venom.

Pet allergies

Pets are another source of allergic reactions. Allergies are commonly caused by the dander (dead skin cells) of cats and dogs. They can also be caused by direct contact or saliva and urine on the dander.

Direct contact with dander can cause a skin reaction that leads to swelling, itching, and redness. Exposure to pets can also cause sneezing, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing. Some people experience worse asthma symptoms when they’re around cat or dog dander.

People with pet allergies may want to avoid or limit contact with their allergen, but antihistamine medications and regular cleaning can also help manage symptoms.

Mold allergies

Mold grows in damp environments. It’s sometimes found inside houses and other buildings and can also be found outdoors. There are many types of mold, and not all of them cause allergies.

When mold does lead to allergies, it can lead to classic symptoms such as congestion, itchy eyes, and coughing. OTC or prescription allergy medications, including antihistamines, can help treat and manage mold allergies.

Pollen allergies

Pollen allergies are sometimes called seasonal allergies or hay fever. These allergies are likely to come and go as certain plants blossom, and their severity might vary from year to year. People with pollen allergies often experience itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and congestion.

There are OTC options to both prevent and treat pollen allergies. If OTC treatments aren’t helping, it can be a good idea to make a medical appointment. A doctor might be able to provide prescription treatment options that work better for you.

Latex allergies

Latex is a substance sometimes used to make products such as rubber gloves, rubber bands, balloons, condoms, and some toys. It’s not used as often today as it was in the recent past.

People with latex allergies can break out in hives and experience itchy eyes, a runny nose, and coughing when they come in contact with latex. Severe symptoms can sometimes cause a fatal reaction.

Avoiding latex products is typically the best way to manage a latex allergy. Some people with latex allergies may also want to avoid certain foods, including:

  • peaches
  • kiwis
  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • figs
  • chestnuts
  • bananas
  • bell peppers

Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding and Managing Allergies

What are allergies and how do they develop?

Allergies are immune system responses to substances called allergens that are typically harmless to most people. They develop when:

  • The immune system becomes hypersensitive to certain substances
  • The body produces antibodies to attack these allergens
  • Exposure to allergens triggers an allergic reaction

Common allergens include pollen, pet dander, certain foods, and insect venom 1. Allergies can develop at any age, and both genetic and environmental factors play a role in their development.

What are the most common types of allergies?

Some of the most prevalent allergies include:

  • Food allergies: Reactions to proteins in foods like peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and eggs
  • Seasonal allergies: Also known as hay fever, caused by pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds
  • Pet allergies: Typically reactions to animal dander, saliva, or urine
  • Insect allergies: Reactions to stings from bees, wasps, or fire ants
  • Drug allergies: Adverse reactions to certain medications
  • Mold allergies: Reactions to various types of indoor and outdoor molds
  • Latex allergies: Sensitivity to products containing natural rubber latex 2

What are the symptoms of allergies?

Allergy symptoms can vary depending on the type of allergen and the severity of the reaction. Common symptoms include:

  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Skin rashes or hives
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

In severe cases, allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction requiring immediate medical attention3.

How are allergies diagnosed and treated?

Allergies are typically diagnosed through:

  • Medical history assessment
  • Physical examination
  • Skin prick tests
  • Blood tests to check for specific antibodies

Treatment options may include:

  1. Avoidance: Identifying and avoiding allergens
  2. الأدوية: Antihistamines, decongestants, or corticosteroids
  3. Immunotherapy: Gradually exposing the body to allergens to build tolerance
  4. Emergency medications: Epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) for severe allergic reactions 4

Can allergies be prevented or cured?

While allergies cannot be completely prevented or cured, you can:

  • Reduce exposure to known allergens
  • Take preventive medications before allergy season
  • Consider immunotherapy to decrease sensitivity over time

Some children may outgrow certain allergies, but this depends on the type and severity of the allergy 1.

When should I seek medical help for allergies?

Consult a healthcare provider if:

  • Over-the-counter treatments aren’t effective
  • Allergies significantly impact your quality of life
  • You experience symptoms of anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, dizziness)

For severe allergic reactions, use an EpiPen if available and seek immediate medical attention 5.Remember, understanding your allergies and working with a healthcare professional can help you effectively manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.


An allergy is the result of your immune system overreacting to a trigger. Common allergies include pollen, insect venom, latex, pet dander, peanuts, and mold.

Some allergies can be treated with OTC or prescription medications. For others, the best treatment is avoiding the trigger. A doctor can help you create the best plan to reduce or avoid symptoms.

3 تعليقات

  1. This is a fantastic overview of allergies! Breaking down the common triggers and symptoms really helps in understanding how to identify and manage them. The inclusion of various types, such as food, seasonal, and pet allergies, makes it comprehensive. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

  2. This is such an informative post! I had no idea there were so many different types of allergies and triggers. It’s really helpful to understand the symptoms to look out for and how they can vary so much. Thanks for breaking it down so clearly!

  3. This is a very informative post! Thank you for breaking down the different types of allergies and their symptoms. It’s helpful to know what common triggers to look out for, especially for those who might be experiencing symptoms for the first time. The detailed explanations can definitely assist in recognizing and managing allergies more effectively. Great job!

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