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Understanding 5 Different Types of Allergies

A runny nose, red, itchy eyes, wheezing, swelling, hives: The list of possible allergy symptoms goes on. If you’re one of the millions of US men, women, and children living with allergies, you know how frustrating they can be.

When your immune system treats a particle as a hostile invader, that particle is called an allergen. The allergen triggers the release of chemicals from your immune system to fight the invader. These chemicals are called histamines. 

In other words, it’s the histamines that give you your allergy symptoms, not the particles. Symptoms vary depending on the type of allergen that triggered the histamines. 

To help you get to the root cause of your symptoms and find effective relief, board-certified providers, Charles Greene, MD, PhD, and Tara Condrey, PA-C, offer allergy testing and treatment at Jacksonville ENT Surgery in Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida.

Take a moment to learn about five common types of allergies and how our experts can help you find relief.  

1. Seasonal allergies

Seasonal allergies are really a form of environmental allergies and include many indoor and outdoor allergies. Most people with seasonal allergies have a reaction to more than one allergen. Some of the most common triggers include:

These types of allergies can cause a variety of symptoms, including runny nose, sneezing, postnasal drip, and inflamed sinuses. 

Some people experience seasonal allergies as eye allergies, which include itchy, red, or watery eyes, burning, swollen eyelids, or feeling like you have sand or grit in your eyes. 

2. Contact allergies

When people refer to contact allergies, they’re usually referring to a type of skin allergy. You experience a skin allergy when something that comes in contact with your skin triggers the release of histamine. 

The reaction that appears is typically limited to your skin, such as a rash, eczema, skin inflammation, or hives. Some of the most common contact allergies include reactions to poisonous plants, dust, dander, and latex. 

3. Drug allergies

A drug allergy is when your body has an immune response to a medication. This reaction occurs because your body’s immune system perceives an ingredient in the drug as a danger to your body. 

It doesn’t matter what form the medicine comes in (liquid, oral, etc.), if you’re allergic to an ingredient or combination of ingredients in the drug, you can have a reaction. Some of the most common allergy-inducing medications include:

Most of the time, drug allergy symptoms show up in your skin, such as a rash, hives, or itching. However, they can also cause other allergic reactions, like swelling, wheezing, or GI symptoms. 

4. Insect allergies

Around 5% of Americans have allergies to insects that sting or bite. Some of the more common insect allergens include ant bites, wasp and bee stings, and cockroaches.  

While these aren’t the most common types of allergies, they are the ones that most often trigger anaphylaxis.  Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to a substance. 

When you have an anaphylactic reaction, your body quickly goes into shock from the flood of histamines. Signs include:

This reaction required urgent medical care. Go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care center if you don’t have an epinephrine pen.  

5. Food allergies

Food allergies involve an immune reaction to a specific food or foods. Eight foods cause most food allergies, which affect around 32 million Americans. These eight foods are:

In preteen children, milk, eggs, and peanuts are the most common allergens, while for adults, the most common food allergen is shellfish.  

Expert help for all kinds of allergies

If you’re concerned about allergies, the team at Jacksonville ENT Surgery can help. The first step involves identifying your specific allergens with an allergy test. Your provider assesses your symptoms to recommend the right testing.

Once your allergies are identified, your provider creates a personalized allergy treatment plan that may include:

Sublingual immunotherapy is a simple treatment you can take at home. It works by training your body to stop releasing histamines to your known triggers by giving your body regular doses of the allergen in liquid or tablet form under the tongue. 

Over time, your immune system adapts to the presence of the allergen, stopping strong allergic reactions and giving you lasting relief. 

To learn more about the different types of allergies or for help managing symptoms, schedule a consultation online or over the phone with a provider at Jacksonville ENT Surgery.

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