Common Types of Allergies- Which One Affects You

The symptoms of the allergy differ according to the type of allergen, the severity of the immune response and the entry point of the allergen. While all these appear differently, the basic characteristic of the allergies remain constant, it is an exaggerated response of the immune system to foreign bodies called antigens.

In allergies, the antigen is specifically bracketed into one category of antigens called allergens. These allergens are controlled by the body by way of releasing an immunoglobulin, the IgE. To understand better the interaction between the allergens and antibodies, let us see it from the viewpoint of the allergies themselves. Below are short overviews of the most common allergies.

Asthma is a characterized by the inflammation of air passages which results to difficulty of breathing due to the narrowing of the bronchial tubes that limits the passage of air into the lungs. While asthma is not always treated as an allergy, it is often identified as a symptom of allergic reaction to inhaled allergens. The most common symptoms of asthma are shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and tightness of the chest.

Allergic Rhinitis
This type of allergy is also characterized by the inflammation of the nasal passages (from the word rhinitis, meaning nose). This affects 1 in very 5 individuals in America and is known as one of the most common illnesses around the globe. This triggers a rather complex cascade of symptoms which include nasal congestion and nasal itching, sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy nose, post natal drip and rhinorrhea or runny nose.

Allergic rhinitis can be roughly divided into two groups- perennial and seasonal. Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by year-round exposure to allergens such as dust and dust mites, molds and animal dander. The more common type, the seasonal allergic rhinitis which is also known as hay fever, is caused by the seasonal release of pollens. The incidence of allergic rhinitis rises therefore in time with the high-pollen seasons.

Allergic Eyes or Allergic Conjunctivitis
This is characterized by the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the eyeballs and the underlying structures of the eyelids. There are five common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis namely, increased production of tears, redness of the white of the eye as well as the inner eyelid, itchiness, blurry vision and swelling of the eyelid or around the eyelid.

Allergic Eczema
Allergic eczema or atopic dermatitis is an allergic response to a bacterium that thrives on the skin. The common characteristic of this skin allergy is the inflammation or irritation of the skin which may or may not be itchy. Symptoms vary depending on the person.

Otherwise known as urticaria, hives are characterized by pale red swollen bumps that are localized on certain parts of the skin which appear suddenly due to contact with an allergen. Hives are itchy and may sometimes cause burning or stinging sensations. These can appear on any superficial area of the body including the surface of the skin, ears, throats and tongue. They are usually small bumps but some serious cases of urticaria can produce bumps that are the size of dinner plates.

Food Allergies
This is an umbrella of allergies that are basically termed to as food intolerance. There are various types of food allergies that commonly appear in the American population including milk allergy, nut allergy, egg allergy, fish allergy, shellfish allergy and soy allergy.