You feel the sneeze before it even erupts. Your eyes water, your nose twitches, and your face gets flush.
Does this sound like a familiar scenario? If so, you’re not alone. More than 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergy.
Yet, you could be dealing with allergies and not even know it. What you’ve been casting aside as the common cold could, in fact, be pointing to a more ingrained health issue that deserves a second look.
Today, we’re breaking down the most common types of allergies so you can better identify your symptoms.
Ready to learn more? Put down that box of tissues and let’s take a look.
Has sneezing become second-nature to you? If so, you could be suffering from allergic rhinitis. In short, this is a sinus allergy. Affecting an estimated 20 million adults and 6.1 million children, this condition is defined by inflamed nasal passages.
There are a few subsets of rhinitis, including:
Commonly known as hay fever, this type of allergy results in a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and fatigue.
It can be triggered by seasonal culprits, such as grass and blooming trees. Or, it can be a perennial condition that lasts all year and is usually caused by dust mites, mold or other household allergens such as pet dander.
Sometimes, rhinitis isn’t brought on due to specific types of allergens. It could also be a result of environmental conditions, such as excess smoke or airborne chemicals.
Other events that can catalyze nasal inflammation include hormonal shifts, nasal deformities (such as deviated septums) and nasal spray misuse.
This type of rhinitis is what’s usually referred to as upper respiratory infection. It occurs when a common cold settles into your nasal membranes and surrounding sinus cavities, leading to an infection.
2. Food Allergies
Both children and adults alike can suffer from food allergies, though their symptoms are most common in the younger population. The interesting part is that they can develop out of nowhere, meaning that a food you’ve consumed and loved for years can suddenly become very harmful.
Some common food allergies in adults and children include:
- Peanuts/Tree Nuts
There are also certain fruits that can trigger allergic reactions. The most common types of fruit allergies often stem from fruits grown near birch pollen. Foods affected can include apples, hazelnuts, peaches, kiwis and apricots, among others.
Food allergy symptoms range from the minor to the severe and even fatal. If you suffer from a food allergy, you may experience:
- Difficulty Breathing/Swallowing
- Swollen Tongue
The last symptom is life-threatening in nature. It’s associated with impaired breathing, which can send your body into a state of shock. On all symptoms, be wary of the timeline. You could feel symptoms in as little as a few minutes, or it could take hours for them to take effect.
3. Pet Allergies
As difficult as it is to admit, sometimes Fido is to blame for our watery eyes and itchy skin.
If you’re spending time with a furry pal and suddenly experience any of these symptoms, pet allergies could be the cause.
- Watery Eyes
- Runny Nose
- Skin Rash
- Facial Pain
- Nasal Congestion
Of course, the best course of action is to avoid being around dogs and cats in general. Yet, if this isn’t viable, at least seek to minimize your exposure to them. Pet allergens are often found on their skin and fur, as well as their saliva.
You can also purchase nasal sprays and decongestants, or receive allergy shots, that can help you keep symptoms at bay. Remember that while some dogs are classified as hypoallergenic, there isn’t a cat breed designated as such.
4. Skin Allergies
Have you ever looked down at your arms and wondered where that red, bumpy rash came from?
Suffering from skin allergies can be both painful and embarrassing, so it’s important to determine their root cause. The three primary types of skin allergies are eczema, hives and contact dermatitis. Let’s take a look at each.
This type of skin allergy is defined by red, dry, itchy skin that can appear anywhere on your body. It’s also referred to as atopic dermatitis.
When the bumps become infected, they can fill with fluid and a white-yellow liquid will ooze out when you press them. This condition comes and goes with time and can worsen with exposure to certain irritants, such as skincare products, pet dander or heavy fragrances.
Hives are raised, red welts that pop up on your body. If they persist for more than six weeks, the condition is categorized as chronic urticaria, or acute urticaria if the welts disappear before the six-week mark.
These may appear after you eat certain foods, take medication, experience an insect sting, have a viral infection or experience related conditions. Emotional stress can exacerbate them.
Put simply, this is a skin allergy that occurs when you come into direct contact with a chemical or substance that irritates your skin. From your laundry detergent to your body wash, this irritant could be anywhere.
When you’re suffering from contact dermatitis, you’ll see a swollen rash marked by red bumps, blisters, itching, and dryness.
For all of these allergies and more, a simple allergy test from a resource such as this center can help pinpoint the root cause of your suffering and help you develop a plan of action. Taking steps today to mitigate your pain can help make all the difference.
5. Drug Allergies
Regardless of whether your medication is liquid or in a pill form, you could experience an adverse reaction to it. If you believe this to be the case, talk your concerns over with your pharmacist and allergist to see if there could be a correlation.
The most common symptoms you may experience with drug allergies include:
- Skin Irritation
- Breathing Difficulties
Antibiotics are especially associated with drug allergies, as are common medications including aspirin and ibuprofen. You may also experience symptoms if you’re undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Make sure all your healthcare providers are up-to-date on your condition as it progresses.
Educate Yourself on These Common Types of Allergies
Though it would be nice to sometimes live in a bubble and protect ourselves from everything around us that could cause harm, life just doesn’t work that way.
Fortunately, by understanding more about these common types of allergies, you can better arm yourself with the knowledge and guidance you need to stay safe.
Want more lifestyle, health and happiness advice? That’s where we come in. We deliver the tips and tricks you need to help you look and feel your best. Browse our other health articles today to learn more about keeping your body in top shape.