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How do you find out what's causing your allergies?

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Allergy symptoms happen when your immune system overreacts to something that doesn’t bother most other people. Whatever’s causing this is called an allergen.

Allergens enter your body in different ways. They can come in by:

  • Injection. This could be medicines given by needle, or venom from insect bites or stings.
  • Mouth. Common food allergens include peanuts, fish, and shellfish.
  • Nose and lungs. They can be small specks or have spores that float in the air, like pollen, animal dander, dust, mold, grass, or weeds.
  • Through your skin. These can include poison ivy, oak, or sumac. Chemicals in cosmetics, dyes, and latex can also spark a reaction.

From: Become an Allergy Detective WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Food Allergy Research and Education: “About Anaphylaxis,” “Symptoms.”

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: “Allergy Symptoms,” “Anaphylaxis,” “My Nasal Allergy Journal,” “Skin Allergies: Hives.”

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, New England Chapter: “Allergy Basics.” 

CDC: “Latex Allergies.”

Mayo Clinic: “Food Allergy: Tests and Diagnosis.”

Allergy UK: “Food and Symptoms Diary.”

University of Michigan Health System, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

American Family Physician : “Hives and Exercise -- What It Means and What to Do,” “Things That Can Cause Asthma and Allergies.”

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: “How Can I Contact AAFA?” “Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats?”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on February 01, 2017

SOURCES:

Food Allergy Research and Education: “About Anaphylaxis,” “Symptoms.”

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: “Allergy Symptoms,” “Anaphylaxis,” “My Nasal Allergy Journal,” “Skin Allergies: Hives.”

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, New England Chapter: “Allergy Basics.” 

CDC: “Latex Allergies.”

Mayo Clinic: “Food Allergy: Tests and Diagnosis.”

Allergy UK: “Food and Symptoms Diary.”

University of Michigan Health System, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

American Family Physician : “Hives and Exercise -- What It Means and What to Do,” “Things That Can Cause Asthma and Allergies.”

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: “How Can I Contact AAFA?” “Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats?”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on February 01, 2017

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How can keeping a diary help you become an allergy detective?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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