Allergies affect over 50 million people in the U.S. annually, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). While well-known allergens such as peanuts, shellfish, and penicillin get plenty of attention, these foods, medications, and environmental factors that you hear or read about almost daily aren't the only causes behind a host of reactions.
Take a look at some of the lesser-known, but equally as powerful, allergens that you need to know about.
Jewelry, coins, and anything else that contains metal can cause a skin flare-up. Allergic dermatitis, a skin reaction to an allergen such as metal, can result in redness, burning, bumps, or an itchy sensation.
Even though any metal could possibly be an allergen, one person would not likely be allergic to all metals. Nickel, chromates, and cobalt are the most common metallic allergy-inducers. Less common allergens include higher quality metals such as yellow gold, platinum, and sterling silver. Copper and stainless steel are less likely to cause reactions.
While avoiding the metal you're allergic to seems like the obvious answer to your reaction issues, some metals show up in sneaky places. Some types of tattoo ink have metals, such as cobalt, in them. Likewise, eyeglass frames can also contain allergy-causing cobalt or other metals.
The zippers, metal snaps, or other metal-containing accents on your clothing may also result in an allergic reaction - if they touch your skin. Along with these potential irritants, some cosmetics can also contain chromate metals.
This topical antibiotic is available in over-the-counter as well as prescription creams, gels, drops, and lotions. If you're allergic to neomycin, you always need to read the ingredients in any antibiotic or antibiotic-containing product. Some anti-itch creams may also contain neomycin, making what seems like a solution to an allergic reaction a problem in itself.
Along with creams and gels, some ear drops, eye drops, and vaginal suppositories may contain this allergen. If you're unsure about potential neomycin content, talk to your doctor before using the topical, drop, or suppository product.
This popular beauty product is a semi-permanent way to extend the length of your lashes. A cosmetic professional glues each individual extension onto a lash, lengthening them for months at a time. While these have plenty of aesthetic benefits, they can also cause serious allergies. Typically, the adhesive used to attach the extensions to the lashes is at fault for an allergic reaction.
Some people have temporary irritations following eyelash extension application. These may be annoying but will clear up quickly. A true allergic reaction often results in swollen eyes, swollen eyelids, itchiness, or eye redness. It may worsen over time or get more intense with further applications.
It's also possible to have an allergic reaction to lash extensions after using them successfully before. A new or sudden swelling, itching, or redness indicates the need to see a medical professional right away.
Meat and Poultry
The top three food allergens are peanuts, milk, and shellfish. But that doesn't mean they're the only foods that can cause a reaction. Meat and poultry allergies are also possible. Even though these food allergies are uncommon, they can start at any point in time - whether the patient is a child or an adult who has eaten meat for years.
Meat and poultry allergies may cause nasal symptoms, nausea, and other digestive issues, headaches, asthma, or life-threatening anaphylaxis. Avoiding the food is the first step to stopping the reaction. If you do have a reaction, you need medical attention immediately. Depending on the symptoms that you have, the allergist may prescribe antihistamines, corticosteroids, or epinephrine.
Do you have an untreated allergy? Contact Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Fort Worth for more information.