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Chronic illness plagues millions of people every year. One of the more common triggers of persistent illness is allergy-related. Over 50 million people in the United States struggle annually with allergies. Billions of dollars have already been allocated to treat allergy-stricken Americans. Avoid needless suffering and unwelcome medical costs by learning of the various allergy types, their triggers and how to avoid them.

Common Allergen Types

Do you know what elements can play a part in triggering an allergic reaction? Types of allergens can be divided into four categories. Below is a listing and description of allergen triggers that can invoke potential chronic problems in the future:

Food Allergies

Common food allergic reactions are triggered by milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and types of shellfish.

The most common allergic reaction trigger in infants and young children is caused by cow’s milk. In recent years, for adults, an increase of awareness in wheat allergies that cause bloating and other worrisome symptoms has given rise to offerings of “gluten-free options” in the marketplace. Many restaurants have gluten-free food lists or separate menus to serve their wheat-allergic patrons.

Drug Allergies

Some drugs that prompt allergic reactions include: balsam of Peru, tetracycline, penicillin, local anesthetics, Dilantin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.

Calamine lotion, surgical dressings, dental cement, hemorrhoid suppositories and even medicine used to treat diaper rash can contain balsam of Peru in the ingredients. Other dentistry materials may also have the drug in their make-up. It may behoove you to ask your dentist about this specific element before undergoing any dental procedures.

Environmentally Triggered Allergies

Allergen triggers that can be attributed to your specific environment include pollen, animals, insect bites/stings, scents (perfumes or lotions), types of water, dust mites, and molds.

Close to 10 percent of all people are afflicted with dog allergies. Dander, urine, saliva, pollen, or dust that finds its way onto your furry companion are factors that can trigger troubling reactions. A skin condition called aquagenic pruritus is in effect an allergy to contact with water. For those who are allergic, water contact can trigger some irritating skin-affecting symptoms.

Contact Allergies

Various substances that make contact with your skin, hair, nails or various glands can cause allergy symptoms. Latex, hair dye, henna ink, hair waving mixtures, nail polish and soaps/shampoos are items that some people are allergic to.

The type of henna ink used in henna tattoos can determine if a reaction occurs. Henna ink that has an extra ingredient called PPA or Phenylenediamine can be dangerous to uninformed people who may not realize they are allergic to that specific ingredient. Make sure to ask the henna artist if they know the ingredients found in their henna ink.

What do allergic reaction symptoms look like?

Are you unsure as to what an allergic reaction looks like? Check below to see if you have experienced any of these allergy-related symptoms:

Food Allergy Symptoms:

  • digestive issues
  • skin reactions like hives
  • swollen airways or tongue
  • cramping
  • brain fog (common with gluten allergies)
  • vomiting (especially related to milk allergies)

Drug Allergy Symptoms:

  • skin rashes
  • itchy skin or hives
  • fever (this symptom may be a significant sign to determine what type of allergic reaction)

Environmental Symptoms:

  • a cough
  • itchy/watery eyes
  • a runny nose
  • difficulty breathing
  • sneezing
  • wheezing

Contact Symptoms:

  • skin irritation
  • red rash at the point of contact
  • life-threatening shock (in severe cases of latex allergies)

Look for the signs. If you know the triggers, you can come up with a prevention plan. If you’ve experienced any one of these symptoms it may be time to visit a medical professional.