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There are more and more cases of allergy, but what really causes it? What is the most common allergen - food or maybe inhaled allergens? We explain which allergens are the most dangerous and which most often cause unwanted reactions in the body.

In the last few decades, the incidence of allergies in Poland and in the world has increased. According to statistics, at the beginning of the 20th century, 1% of people suffered from allergies. of the population -is now 40 percent. humanity .

Children suffer from allergies most often, but they are also very common among adults. For example, over 500 million people worldwide suffer from allergic rhinitis.

What is an allergy and what are allergens?

An allergy is an abnormal reaction of the immune system to allergens, factors that the body should be indifferent to. Meanwhile, for some unknown reason, the immune system "catches" the allergens and begins to fight them.

In the course of research on allergy, over 40,000 compounds that can cause allergy have been detected. Allergens can be various types of proteins (of plant or animal origin), synthetics (e.g. latex), metals, insect venom, as well as chemicals.

Scientists have classified allergies according to the way the allergen enters the body. That is why we are currently talking about allergies:

  • inhalation (e.g. against house dust mites, pollen, molds). Inhaled allergens are inhaled with the air.
  • food - most often it is caused by allergens found in food products, i.e. getting into the body through the alimentary way.
  • contact (e.g. ingredients of cosmetics, cleaning agents). They usually work directly on the skin.

Which allergens trigger an allergy the most?

Each person can react with an allergy to another factor. Some allergens can cause a person a severe, life-threatening reaction, but in another person the same allergen will not cause even a minor rash. Nevertheless, from among tens of thousands of allergens, there are several dozen that are the most common cause of allergy.

What is the most allergic? It turns out that the top ten most powerful allergens include pollen, house dust mites, cow's milk protein, strawberries, nickel, nutspeanuts, seafood, citrus, fungus spores and insect venom.

Most common contact allergens

Contact allergens are the most common chemicals we come into contact with through the skin. They can be ingredients of cosmetics, detergents, which we use during cleaning, washing, etc. Allergy to detergents and cosmetics is one of the most common contact allergies, especially in children whose skin is sensitive to various external factors.

A very common allergen is nickel, less often chrome, found in jewelry or everyday objects. It is enough for an allergic person to put on earrings or a ring with nickel, and they develop allergy symptoms: hives, itching, etc.

Other symptoms of contact allergy are skin redness and rash. Occasionally, in a nickel allergy, rhinitis and asthma attacks may occur.

List of the most common contact allergens:

  • nickel (found in jewelry and cutlery, sliders, scissors, etc.),
  • chrome (in cement, paints, greases),
  • dyes (found in cosmetics and detergents),
  • preservatives (creams, color cosmetics, lotions),
  • essential oils (perfumes, body cosmetics, creams),
  • mineral oils (creams, lotions),
  • Vaseline (as above),
  • paraffin (as above).

Most common inhaled allergens

Inhalation allergies are most common in spring and summer, when we observe the dusting of trees, grasses and shrubs. Pollen allergy is one of the common forms of inhalation allergy. But there are also people who feel warm to allergy throughout the course of the course - these are patients allergic to house dust mites.

A popular cause of inhalation allergy are also molds and fungi, as well as hair, and more specifically animal proteins found in dog's or cat's hair, including saliva and faeces. Sensitization can also be caused by chemicals with a strong smell - paints, varnishes or detergents. Such allergens most often cause allergic rhinitis, cough, conjunctivitis and asthma attacks.

List of the most common inhaled allergens:

  • dust mites,
  • grass pollen (cereals, mugwort, ambrosia),
  • tree pollen (ash, linden, hazel, alder, birch),
  • fungi and molds (Alternaria and Cladosporium and Penicillium

Most common food allergens

Food allergy most often occurs in infants because their digestive system is not yet fully mature and "lets in" allergens causing unwanted immune reactions. In many children, the allergy disappears in 2-3. years of age, buta large percentage of young patients show allergy symptoms for several dozen years. It also happens that a food allergy does not appear until adulthood.

Food allergens most often cause abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and rashes. They are less often manifested by respiratory problems.

The most common food allergy in Poland is an allergy to cow's milk protein, and more precisely to casein and alpha and beta-lactoglobulins in milk. A popular allergen is also gluten, which is proteins found in wheat, rye and barley grains.

Most common food allergens:

  • dairy products
  • eggs
  • fish
  • soybeans (and soy products, e.g. milk, yoghurt, cheese, soy meats)
  • fruit (most often: oranges, mandarins, lemons, kiwi, melons, and from Polish fruits: strawberries, wild strawberries, raspberries
  • vegetables: celery, tomatoes, peppers
  • meat: most common: veal and beef (if the child is allergic to cow's milk protein), chicken (if the child is allergic to eggs)
  • grains containing gluten (this is the protein found in wheat, rice, barley and oats). Especially often wheat and rye are allergic
  • sweets: most often cocoa, chocolate
  • nuts, especially peanuts
  • shellfish and seafood
  • preservatives and dyes (monosodium glutamate, tartrazine, sulphites)

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