Allergies Causes & Risk Factors

Allergies Causes & Risk Factors

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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Occupational allergens include a wide range of airborne substances that can cause allergies and asthma. These include such things as laboratory animal dander, grain and flour dust that affect bakers and agricultural workers, other foodstuffs such as coffee bean dust, dust from woods such as mahogany or western red cedar, and chemicals like platinum or toluene diisocyanate that affect people who spray paint. Substances like psyllium, which is found in laxatives like Metamucil, can cause asthma in those who handle large amounts of the powder, such as nurses and pharmacists.
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    An allergy is when your body overreacts to something that's harmless to most other people. Here are some common things people are allergic to:
    • Pollen and mold. Many people are allergic to pollen from trees, weeds, and grasses. Mold growth is a big problem in wet areas.
    • Dust mites. Dust mites are tiny bugs you can't see but are everywhere. They feed off dust, dirt, dead skin, and other harmless things in our homes.
    • Animals. Many people are allergic to cats, dogs, and other pets. Being around these animals brings on symptoms.
    • Insect bites or stings. If you are allergic, your reaction could affect your whole body. It will be worse than the usual redness, swelling, and itching most people have where the bite is.
    • Chemicals. You can be allergic to chemicals in cleaners, paints, or soaps. Some people are allergic to latex (such as in latex gloves).
    • Medicines. Some people are allergic to medicines prescribed by a doctor. But you can also be allergic to things you buy at the store. Even herbs can cause problems.
    • Foods. Foods most likely to cause allergies are milk, soy, eggs, wheat, seafood, peanuts, and tree nuts. But you can have an allergy to any food.
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    A Allergy & Immunology, answered on behalf of

    The issue of "allergy" to wine is a common one. There is generally no simple answer. A commonly held belief is that people react to the sulfites that are added to wine to prevent spoilage. The level of these can vary from wine to wine. There is a small subset of people that are sensitive to sulfites, and they tend to have asthma. However, in a study comparing high and low sulfite containing wine, people who stated wine made their asthma flare showed no change after drinking it. A similar study showed only 2 of 10 people with this problem reacted to a high sulfite wine. 

    There are numerous compounds in wine: biogenic amines, sulfites, and histamine to name a few. Numerous studies have shown that the histamine content of wine does not correlate to symptoms. Sometimes even trace amounts of insects such as bees have been shown to exist in wine, and one study reported sensitivity to bee venom in people with wine senstivity who had never been stung. The complex nature of wine makes it enjoyable, but may also make it difficult to pin down why it causes people problems, or why some wines are tolerated when others are not.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    One prevailing theory about allergy development stems from a biochemical reaction that occurs when our antibodies react to invaders. B cells shoot invaders with bullets called immunoglobulins, or antibodies, and they're specifically designed to target particular threats. In addition to shooting antibodies, B cells also wear them on their surface. The surface antibodies associated with allergies (called IgE antibodies) stick to B cells like green on peas, supercharging them to fight invaders that may not be particularly dangerous. Like Fluffy. How did we end up with this overzealous class of antibodies? Some immunologists believe that way back in the day, a high-octane disease or infection appeared, and those of our ancestors who had IgE were able to survive it because of their powerful immune response. Those IgE antibodies have been with us ever since. The downside is that they can now react strongly to nonlethal stimuli, and that's what causes an allergic reaction.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    Some people suffer from skin allergies. People with sensitive skin should avoid some of the fragrances, antioxidants, stabilizers, preservatives, and coloring agents that are found in skin-care products and cosmetics. Sometimes less is more. While a skin cream might have one or two active ingredients, they all have a dozen or more inactive ingredients - that is, they are supposed to be inactive for making your skin healthy. But those inactive ingredients could be active against you and your skin.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    Are you ready for the crazy inside scoop? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says there are no federal definitions or rules that guide the labeling of products as hypoallergenic, and companies are not required to submit proof to the FDA that their product is hypoallergenic. That means that in theory, you could bottle the oil that causes poison ivy rashes and call it hypoallergenic! (Not that anyone would ’cause it wouldn’t sell very well, but you get the idea.) So I hate to say it, whether you have a tendency for allergic skin reactions or have normal skin, hypoallergenic cosmetics, shampoos, or other skin care products can still cause allergic reactions, despite what the label says. That being said, there are some ingredients that may be more or less likely to cause a reaction.

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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Many allergens can be found in the school environment, for instance, right after school begins, when kindergartners and first graders pull out their mats and rugs at quiet time, we see a spate of dust-induced asthma and rhinitis. Guinea pigs and white mice are a soothing and educational addition to elementary classrooms, but they are also full of allergens.

    When leaves start falling, mold spores begin to increase both indoors and out. At this time of year, air-temperature inversions -- warm air on top of cold -- occur both inside and out. This decreases the vertical mixing of air, and contaminants build up as a result.

    The start of heating season is always busy in our offices. This is when custodians fire up the furnaces and all that dust and mouse droppings are swept from the heating ducts into the classroom.

    On top of these seasonal events, schools remain an allergen supermarket: Chalk, pollens, pesticides, laboratory chemicals, sanitation supplies, perfumes, rodents, and cockroaches all make schools a 7- to 10-hour-a-day, year-round threat.
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    A Allergy & Immunology, answered on behalf of
    Climate change can possibly play a factor in worsening allergies. It can mean more CO2 in the air and longer growing seasons, which can both contribute to a more severe allergy season. There’s some data that shows that warmer temperatures can generate a higher pollen production and help encourage the growth of these pollen-producing plants. The amount of rain we get in the spring also impacts the fall allergy season, especially in terms of ragweed. 
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    A , Emergency Medicine, answered
    Many agents - including foods, venom, drugs, chemicals, and other substances - can cause allergic reactions that range from mild to severe and life-threatening. The progressive reaction can appear within minutes of exposure or may show up hours later. The more serious reactions usually develop within minutes of the victim's exposure to the allergen. Many who know they have severe allergies carry a prescribed epinephrine autoinjector to counter the reaction.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Where do winter allergens linger the most in the house?
    Winter allergens (pet and dust allergens) stay in the air longer, and live on your bedding/furniture, so it's key to keep your house clean and use an air purifier. Watch me share tips for winter allergy sufferers. 
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