What Are the 4 Most Common Allergens?

Medically Reviewed on 2/1/2022

4 most common allergens

what are the four types of allergic reactions?
The four most common types of allergens include food and medications, pollen, pet dander, and latex.

Allergens are chemicals that trigger allergic reactions in some people. An allergen can be anything you eat, breathe in, inject into your body, or touch.

Most people suffer mild reactions, such as bronchitis, rashes, or runny noses; however, allergies do result in the death of several people each year.

The 4 most common allergens include:

1. Food and medications

Certain chemicals in the food and medicines may cause allergic reactions in the body.

It is quite challenging to identify the specific allergen. Once the allergen is established you can avoid it by substituting it with a suitable alternative or completely avoid it if it has no significant role in your lifestyle.

Most common food products that cause allergies

  • Legumes (peanuts)
  • Nuts
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Wheat
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Medications that cause allergies

With the significant increase in the number of cases of food and drug allergies every year, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 has been established. It states companies must mention all the products in a particular food or drug on the label. This helps the consumer choose between products for their safety.

2. Pollen

This is one of the most frequent allergies in the United States, impacting millions of people. 

Pollen particles can go everywhere and enter the house via insects and the wind through open windows. Pollen particles may land on the skin, hair, clothing, shoes, pillows, and bedsheets.

Researchers have discovered that forms of pollen, which are normally suspended higher in the atmosphere during warm weather, tend to descend closer to ground level during the chilly hours of the night.

3. Pet dander

As a result of people allowing their pets on their beds, beds tend to have higher quantities of pet dander. People who are allergic to pet dander may experience immediate reactions or long-term consequences.

Pet dander allergic reactions can occur even when the pet is not around. Dander can move and settle on a variety of household and bedroom surfaces. This means that even if you do not have a pet, you can bring the dander home with you and suffer from allergy symptoms for days, if not weeks.

4. Latex

Latex is used to make various everyday products, such as:

  • Latex gloves
  • Condoms
  • Mattresses
  • Toys
  • Balloons
  • Swim caps

Latex allergy is an allergic reaction to specific proteins found in natural rubber latex, which is derived from the rubber tree. The body misinterprets latex as a potentially harmful substance and presents with symptoms.

Latex allergy can be caused by:

  • Direct contact: Touching goods that contain latex is the most prevalent source of latex allergy.
  • Inhalation: When latex particles are in the air, they can be inhaled. The amount of latex in the air emitted by gloves varies greatly depending on the manufacturer.

Latex allergy can cause common symptoms and even anaphylaxis. The doctor can tell you whether you have a latex allergy or if you are at the risk of acquiring one.

What is an allergy?

When the immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign substance called an allergen, you have an allergy.

Allergies may cause common symptoms that subside eventually or may cause serious life-threatening reactions (anaphylaxis). Symptoms of an allergy depend on the type of allergen.

How are allergies treated?

Although there is no cure for allergies, a positive test result may assist your allergy specialist in recommending anti-allergy drugs.

Unfortunately, all drugs, even over-the-counter treatments, can have significant side effects. 

If used repeatedly, these drugs may become ineffective over time. If routine allergy drugs stop working, immunotherapy is used to lower the body's sensitivity to the allergen. 

Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that modifies the immune system's reaction to allergens. It requires regularly injecting or taking sublingual pills, sprays, or drops containing steadily increasing amounts of allergen extracts until you acquire immunity.


Common Allergies: Symptoms and Signs See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 2/1/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

University of Rochester Medical Center. Allergies and the Immune System. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=p00039