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Types and Causes of Allergies: Part 1

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), there are seven main types of allergies. Some of these allergies are seasonal while others are perennial. This blog series is divided into two parts. In Part 1, we discuss the first four types and causes of allergies:

  1. Drug allergy

In general, drug allergies are uncommon and only affect 10% of people worldwide. People who have an allergy to a particular drug may manifest signs and symptoms regardless if the medicine is taken orally or injected. However, not all reactions to drugs can be considered allergic.

Some physiologic reactions are already known side effects caused by specific medicinal properties of the drug. For this reason, the diagnosis of drug allergies can be tricky. In some cases, you need to undergo skin testing procedures to confirm the allergy.

Common symptoms of drug allergies include itching, breathing problems, skin rashes, and swelling. An anaphylactic reaction may also occur.

If you suspect you may be allergic to any drug you are currently taking, do not hesitate and contact our Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic today.

2. Food allergy

In the United States alone, 32 million people have food allergies. Currently, there are 170 food allergens reported. Among them are these eight major foods that cause allergic reactions: egg, milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and crustacean shellfish.

Food allergy may affect several organs such as the skin, eyes, mouth, lungs, and heart. The signs and symptoms may vary, depending on the food ingested:

  • Itching, rashes, hives
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat—affecting the ability to talk
  • Difficulty swallowing, wheezing, shortness of breath, persistent coughing
  • Stomachache, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Weak pulse, dizziness, pale or bluish skin
  • Anaphylactic reaction

3. Insect allergy

The incidence of insect allergies is lesser than food allergies, as the former only affects 5% of the population. Every year, anaphylactic reactions to insect stings account for 90-100 deaths in the United States. There are three major classifications of insects that cause allergies: stinging insects, biting insects, and household pests.

    • Stinging insects refers to bees, wasps, fire ants, yellow-jackets, and hornets. Insect stings inject a harmful substance called venom into the skin. Many people can recover on their own after being stung, although the recovery period may last several hours or days. However, others might develop a severe anaphylactic reaction to the venom that requires immediate emergency care.


  • Biting insects are bedbugs, fleas, flies, kissing bugs, and mosquitoes. Unlike stinging insects, biting insects rarely cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. A bitten person usually suffers redness, pain, itching, and swelling around the bitten area.
  • Household pests like cockroaches and dust mites may also trigger an allergic reaction. These two insects are the most common cause of perennial asthma and allergies.


4. Latex allergy

Only 1% of Americans have latex allergies. Latex refers to rubber products that contain latex as a significant component. Latex is the protein found in the sap of the Brazilian rubber tree. Rubber bands, bandages, gloves, balloons, condoms, and rubber balls are products known to contain latex.

Products made of synthetic latex, such as latex paint, are not from a Brazilian rubber tree. Therefore, they do not cause a latex allergy.

Some people with latex allergy develop an allergic reaction upon skin contact with latex-containing products, while others are triggered by breathing fibers of latex in the air.

Signs and symptoms of latex allergy include itching, redness, and swelling of the body part that came in contact with a latex-containing product. More specifically:

  • Itching and swelling of the lips after blowing up a balloon
  • Itching, redness, and swelling of the skin after contact with a bandage
  • Itching, swelling, and redness of the skin after contact with latex gloves
  • Itching and swelling after using a condom

People with a severe reaction to latex may develop life-threatening signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction. Experiencing any of the following warrants an emergency medical treatment:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Severe swelling
  • Hives
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing

The remaining three types and causes of allergy are more common and widespread, as they are all around uslike in the hair of your fur babies, for example. To learn more, click here.

What to do? Visit a Walk-In Clinic in Spring Hill

If you are suffering from allergy-like symptoms, but aren’t sure of what’s causing them, visit your Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic doctor for an accurate assessment, treatment, and diagnosis. Our doors are open to everyone, no appointment needed. For inquiries and assistance, give us a call at (352) 515-6000.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.