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    Understanding Allergies -- the Basics

    Types of Allergies continued...

    Hay isn’t the only plant to blame. Ragweed, grasses, and other plants can also be triggers when their pollen takes a ride on the wind. Molds, dust, and animal dander (dead skin scales and saliva) are also on the list.

    Spores in the air are to blame for mold allergies. Outdoor molds thrive in warm seasons or climates, while indoor molds grow year round in damp locations like basements and bathrooms.

    Dust causes allergies because it’s home to pollen, mold spores, and tiny dust mites. It may also contain irritating fibers from fabrics, upholstery, and carpets.

    Asthma is a lung disease causes your air passages to become inflamed and narrow. If it isn’t treated, it can be fatal.There are many causes, including viruses, stuff in the air around you, and allergies to pollen, mold spores, animal dander, and dust mites.

    Food Allergies

    True food allergies are rare in adults but are more common in infants and young children. It can be hard to figure out if a food is really to blame, because reactions may be delayed or could result from food additives or your eating habits.

    Most food allergies in children are caused by:

    • Cow's milk
    • Egg whites
    • Peanuts
    • Tree nuts
    • Wheat
    • Soybeans

    Other foods that often cause allergies include:

    • Berries
    • Shellfish
    • Corn
    • Beans
    • Yellow food dye No. 5
    • Gum arabic (an additive in processed foods)

    Classic food allergy symptoms include stomach crampsdiarrhea, and nausea. In more severe cases, you might vomit, notice that your face and tongue are swollen, have chest congestion, or feel dizzysweaty, or faint.

    Drug Allergies

    The antibiotic penicillin is the most common cause of drug allergies. Other antibiotics, especially sulfa drugs, can also cause problems. Sulfa is also found in medications like the arthritis drug celecoxib (Celebrex). Nearly 1 million Americans (and a small number of people with asthma) have reactions to aspirin, but most are not true allergies. They’re sensitivities or intolerances.

    Insect Sting Allergies

    If you have a food allergy, you might be more likely to react to an insect sting. Venoms from bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants are common allergens. Some people have severe reactions to stings and can go into anaphylaxis.

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