Allergies and Causes

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to what would ordinarily be a harmless substance. This substance that triggers the allergic reaction is called an allergen, and may be swallowed, inhaled or through skin contact.

Causes and Allergy Triggers
The most common allergens include pollens, dust mites, food, plants, latex rubber, bacteria and conditions of the environment (like cold temperatures). Allergies can occur in one or more areas and may exhibit more than one symptom.

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakes a harmless foreign substance (allergen) as possibly harmful. The main cause of an allergy is yet to be discovered, however, it has been observed that allergies often run in the family. Meaning, a person who is allergic to a specific substance most likely has relatives who are allergic to that same substance. Aside from hereditary factors, non-hereditary factors play a significant part as well.

The most common allergies are non-allergic rhinitis, allergic dermatitis, urticaria, allergic rhinitis and asthma. Allergic rhinitis is a term used to refer to anyone who has symptoms which are based on allergies. Other terms for allergic rhinitis include pollen allergy or hay fever. This allergy is caused by tree pollens, weeds, grasses or mold spores. Asthma is caused by extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors include pollens and dust mites while extrinsic factors include respiratory infections (like bronchitis or cough) and air pollutants. Eczema, also called allergic dermatitis, is primarily triggered by food. Contact dermatitis is triggered by being exposed to a specific type of plant, cosmetics, metals, medication and chemicals. Urticaria, or more popularly known as hives, is triggered by food or by certain medications.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) mentions that asthma and allergic diseases are common for all age groups in the US. Often travel to a new city can cause allergies to flare. Travel insurance comes in handy if symptoms get worse and one has to see a doctor. One can pick a popular affordable plan to cover such situations.