What Are the 10 Most Common Allergies?

Reviewed on 6/22/2021

Allergies are a condition in which the body's immune system overreacts to certain substances and triggers an allergic reaction. The 10 most common allergies include foods, animals, pollen, mold, dust mites, medications, latex, insect stings, cockroaches, and perfumes/household chemicals.
Allergies are a condition in which the body’s immune system overreacts to certain substances and triggers an allergic reaction. The 10 most common allergies include foods, animals, pollen, mold, dust mites, medications, latex, insect stings, cockroaches, and perfumes/household chemicals.

Allergies are a condition in which the body’s immune system considers a substance as a harmful “invader” and overreacts to it. Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens, which can trigger an immune response, also called an allergic reaction

More than 50 million people in the United States experience different types of allergies each year, and allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.

The 10 most common allergies include: 

1. Foods

  • Up to 90% of food allergies are caused by eight foods:
    • Cow’s milk
    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Shellfish
    • Wheat
    • Peanuts
    • Tree nuts
    • Soy

2. Animals

  • The dander from both cats and dogs contains oils that coat and protect their fur, but these oils contain proteins that can cause allergic reactions
  • Cat dander is a common trigger for allergic asthma
  • Carpets, drapes, bedding, and pillows can trap allergens such as pet hair which can cause asthma and allergy flare-ups

3. Pollen

  • Pollens from trees, plants, and grasses cause seasonal allergies like hay fever
  • Carpets, drapes, bedding, and pillows can trap allergens such as pollen and cause reactions even when a person is indoors

4. Mold

  • Inhaled mold spores can irritate the nose and throat and cause allergic reactions similar to hay fever

5. Dust mites

  • Dust mites feed on bacteria and dead skin cells found in dust, and their waste contains proteins that can cause allergic reactions
  • Bedding, furniture, and even stuffed animals are often a breeding ground for dust mites 

6. Medications

  • Certain medications may cause allergic reactions
  • Penicillin is a common medication that can cause allergic reactions in some people

7. Latex

  • Contact with latex, such as latex gloves used by medical professionals, can cause an allergic skin reaction in some people
  • The allergy is caused by an intolerance for certain proteins found in the rubber tree sap from which latex is made

8. Insect stings

  • Bee stings or bug bites cause minor skin reactions such as itching and swelling in most people 
  • In people who are highly allergic, the reaction can be severe and even life-threatening (anaphylactic shock)

9. Cockroaches

  • Technically, it’s the proteins in cockroach feces that cause allergic reactions

10. Perfumes and household chemicals

  • People who are sensitive to chemical scents found in perfumes, air fresheners, room sprays, and other household chemicals may have an allergic reaction when exposed to these products

How Are Allergies Diagnosed?

Allergies are diagnosed with a medical history and physical exam, along with tests such as:

  • Skin prick test 
  • Intradermal skin test 
  • Patch test
  • Blood tests (specific IgE)
  • Physician-supervised challenge tests 

What Is the Treatment for Allergies?

Avoidance of known allergens when possible is the first line of treatment for allergies. When this is not possible, medications are used to treat allergies, including:

  • Antihistamines to ease itching, sneezing, runny nose, and hives often caused by seasonal and indoor allergies
  • Mast cell stabilizers to relieve itchy, watery eyes, or an itchy, runny nose 
  • Decongestants to reduce nasal congestion 
  • Nasal corticosteroids (nose sprays) to help with nasal allergies
  • Corticosteroid creams or ointments to relieve itching and rash
  • Oral corticosteroids to reduce swelling and stop severe allergic reactions 
  • Epinephrine for life-threatening severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)

Immunotherapy may be effective for some patients. The two common types of immunotherapy include:

  • Allergy shots 
    • Involves injections of allergens in an increasing dose over time to desensitize the patient to that allergen
    • Allergy shots are often used to treat allergies to pollen, pets, dust, bees or other stinging insects, and asthma
    • Allergy shots are not usually effective for allergies to food, medicines, feathers, or for hives or eczema
  • Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)
    • Small doses of an allergen are administered under the tongue to improve tolerance to the allergen and reduce symptoms
    • SLIT is effective in treating nasal allergies and asthma caused by dust mites, grass, and ragweed

SLIDESHOW

Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers See Slideshow

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Reviewed on 6/22/2021
References
https://www.aafa.org/

http://www.asthmaallergydoctors.com/top-10-allergy-triggers/

https://www.aaaai.org/Conditions-Treatments/Allergies/Food-Allergy