An allergy is a reaction by your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing.
Types of Allergies
According to AAFA research, the common types of allergies are as follows.
- Drug Allergy
True allergies to drugs (medicines) occur in only a small number of people. Most drug reactions are not allergic, but are side effects of the properties of the medicine. A diagnosis of the cause of the drug reaction is usually based only upon the patient’s history and symptoms. Sometimes skin testing for drug allergy is also done.
- Food Allergy
There are different types of allergic reactions to foods. There are differences between IgE-mediated allergies, non-IgE mediated allergies and food intolerances.
- Insect Allergy
Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants are the most common stinging insects that cause an allergic reaction.
Non-stinging insects can also cause allergic reactions. The most common are cockroaches and the insect-like dust mite. Allergies to these two insects may be the most common cause of year-round allergy and asthma.
- Latex Allergy
A latex allergy is an allergic reaction to natural rubber latex. Natural rubber latex gloves, balloons, condoms and other natural rubber products contain latex. An allergy to latex can be a serious health risk.
- Mold Allergy
Mold and mildew are fungi. Since fungi grow in so many places, both indoors and outdoors, allergic reactions can occur year round.
- Pet Allergy
Allergies to pets with fur are common. It is important to know that an allergy-free (hypoallergenic) breed of dog or cat does not exist.
- Pollen Allergy
Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies. Many people know pollen allergy as “hay fever,” but experts usually refer to it as “seasonal allergic rhinitis.”
|Affected organ||Common signs and symptoms|
|Nose||Swelling of the nasal mucosa (allergic rhinitis) runny nose, sneezing|
|Eyes||Redness and itching of the conjunctiva (allergic conjunctivitis, watery)|
|Airways||Sneezing, coughing, bronchoconstriction, wheezing and dyspnea, sometimes outright attacks of asthma, in severe cases the airway constricts due to swelling known as laryngeal edema|
|Ears||Feeling of fullness, possibly pain, and impaired hearing due to the lack of eustachian tube drainage.|
|Skin||Rashes, such as eczema and hives (urticaria)|
|Gastrointestinal tract||Abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea|
Severe allergic reaction
Severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening!
- swelling of the throat and mouth
- difficulty breathing
- blue skin or lips
- collapsing and losing consciousness
Some facts about allergies.
According to AAFA, we have obtained the following relevant data.
How Common Are Allergies?
- More than 50 million Americans have experienced various types of allergies each year. 
- Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. 
How Many People Die from Allergies?
- The most common triggers for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction, are medicines, food and insect stings. Medicines cause the most allergy related deaths.
- Black Americans and older adults have the highest rates of death due to allergic reactions to medicines, food or unknown allergens.
- Allergic rhinitis affects 35.9 million people in the United States, or 11% of the total population.
Eight foods cause most food allergy reactions. They are milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
- About 32 million people have food allergies in the U.S.
- About 26 million (10.8%) U.S. adults have food allergies.
- About 5.6 million (7.6%) U.S. children have food allergies.
- In 2018, 4.8 million (6.5%) children under 18 years of age had food allergies over the previous 12 months.
- Milk is the most common allergen for children, followed by egg and peanut.
- Shellfish is the most common allergen for adults, followed by peanut and tree nut.
References1.American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. (2018). Allergy Facts. http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies
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