A Guide to Different Types of Allergies

Sneezing, wheezing, coughing and runny nose; experiencing these symptoms could very well be a red flag that you are suffering from one of many different types of allergies that affect humans.  Since an allergy can be acquired at any time by any individual, knowing the varying allergens that are most common can be helpful in identifying which is affecting you and how to deal with it.

The human body is equipped with a magnificent defense system.  The immune system is designed to protect us from invading elements in the atmosphere as well as to keep beneficial bacteria in good supply within the body.  The symptoms that are experienced, sneezing; runny nose; coughing; watery eyes; these are all caused as reactions from the immune system to fight off a foreign substance that has made its way into the body.  These foreign invaders could be any number of elements; each body can interpret something different as a threat and react.  For some, it can be the pollen of the pine tree; others might endure a reaction to a food which contains a particular ingredient.  Often, the individual who is suddenly overcome with the symptoms associated with the disorder doesn’t even know what is causing the problem. 

Allergies can be grouped into categories according to the elements which provoke attacks.  The most common of these categories are indoor allergies, outdoor allergies, food and drug allergies and skin allergies.


Indoor allergies can be experienced at any time throughout the year.  Air conditioning units and heating system units provide the perfect conduit for offensive elements to be circulated through the atmosphere over and over again.  There are specific substances classified under the indoor allergy category, but they are by no means conclusive.  Dust mites, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and tobacco smoke are the leading causes for the body’s immune responses of sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes.  Dust mites are found everywhere, as they are the most natural of “cleanup crews”.  The purpose of mites is to feed from the skin cells that regularly shear off the bodies of both humans and animals.  These microscopic creatures are teeming on virtually every surface, including our own bodies.  For some people, massive amounts of the dust mites trigger the protective response of the immune system. These, along with the other indoor allergens, can present quite a problem if the individual is unable to escape from the environment that is producing the effects.   

Seasonal allergies are those which are termed as the outdoor type of allergies.  Pollen is produced by trees, grass, weeds and spores that are ejected from molds.  Because of the temporary conditions they cause, they can be more easily managed and the effects better controlled through medications during their season.  It is also effective to avoid the allergens when possible; for example, avoiding walks in the woods while a particular plant is known to be pollinating.  Driving with the windows turned up in the car will help to keep allergens from penetrating.  Keeping the windows closed at home during those times will also be beneficial.

Food and drug allergies are often easier to detect, since a reaction to the offending item will generally be immediate.  It is important to avoid contact with foods the provoke responses, and to let medical professionals know of drug reactions.

Skin allergies, also called contact dermatitis, include stings or bites by insects, brushes with poison ivy or sumac or similar substances.  Hives, itching and redness are often associated with these allergies.  Avoiding situations that bring individuals into contact with these is the best method, but when not possible, histamines can provide great relief.

Different types of allergies affect different people.  Knowing which substances are your nemesis will be the first step in coping and dealing with the allergens that cause your discomfort.




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