Allergies are a common health issue affecting millions of people worldwide. In this newsletter, we'll discuss the types of allergies, testing, management, and prevention.
WHAT IS ALLERGY?
Allergies are caused by abnormal response of the immune system. The immune system reacts to a usually harmless substance in the environment, this substance can be pollen, mold, dust, animal dander, certain food insect sting, etc. and is referred to as allergens.
If you suspect you have allergies, your healthcare provider may recommend allergy testing. The most common types of allergy testing are skin tests and blood tests. Skin tests involve placing a small amount of the allergen on the skin and then pricking or scratching the skin to see if a reaction occurs. Blood tests measure the amount of antibodies in the blood that react to specific allergens.
TYPES OF ALLERGIES
Common types of allergies include:
- Respiratory Allergies: Allergies that affect the respiratory system such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, & hay fever.
- Food Allergies: Allergies triggered by certain foods such as peanuts, shellfish, dairy products, and wheat.
- Skin Allergies: Allergies that cause skin irritation or rash, such as eczema, hives, and contact dermatitis.
- Drug Allergies: Allergies that occur when the immune system reacts to a certain medication or drug.
- Other types include dusty allergy, insect sting allergy, pet allergy, eye allergy, latex allergy, cockroach allergy and mold allergy.
- Food allergies are estimated to affect about 5% of children’s and 4% adults. It is common in babies and children but can appear at any age. The most common type of food allergen includes: Egg, Milk, Peanut, Fish, Shellfish, Wheat and Soy.