An allergen is something that causes allergy signs, or an allergic
reaction. Many of the same asthma triggers
also cause allergic reactions in people who don't have asthma. There
are many common allergens. Some are those listed here. It's very
important to talk to your doctor if you have had a reaction to any
Household triggers: pets (most often animal skin flakes or
"dander"), smoke, mold, dust and dust mites.
milk and dairy products, citrus fruit like oranges and lemons, artificial
colors and favors, nuts, and shellfsh, like shrimp or clams.
penicillin, some heart medicines, and some anti-seizure medicines.
Insect stings and bites: most are caused by yellow jackets,
honeybees, paper wasps, hornets and fire ants. In some people, reactions
to stings become more serious as years go by. Eventually, it may
take only one sting to kill. Talk to your doctor if you have had
a serious reaction to a sting. Bed Bugs are a growing problem in
homes too. Visit EPA's Bed
Bug resource page to learn how to deal with these pests!
cause reactions when things like plants, cosmetics, jewelry, or
latex (a type of rubber) touch the skin. Rashes are common reactions
to these allergens.
What can you do?
- Know your allergies, and know what to avoid.
Not everyone is allergic to the same things!
your doctor about any unusual reactions to food, plants, medicines,
or other items.
contact with things you know trigger allergies. Avoid being outside
or having the windows open when pollen counts are high. Read food
labels carefully to avoid ingredients that cause reactions. Choose
medicines and home-care products carefully. Remove carpet or vacuum
often to avoid animal dander.
a clean home. Control pests such as mice and cockroaches. Vacuum
floors and upholstery often and consider removing carpet. Avoid
having mold, cigarette smoke, pesticides, and chemicals inside
the house. Keep pets out of the bedrooms of family members who
are allergic to them.
the event of a severe allergic reaction, seek emergency medical