Tags: Allergies | uncommon | allergy | triggers | alcohol | metals

7 Uncommon Allergy Triggers

7 Uncommon Allergy Triggers
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By    |   Tuesday, 03 May 2016 02:53 PM


For once, there seems to be no major onslaught of pollen and you know your house is free of dust and mold, but you are still sniffling and itching. What's to blame?

Most people automatically blame pollen for allergy symptoms, but many allergens that aren't very well-known could be causing you grief. Check out the list below to see if one of these  uncommon allergy triggers could be the guilty culprit.

Spices: According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (ACAAI), spice allergies account for about 2 to 3 percent of food allergies, but are probably undiagnosed. Hot, spicy seasonings, especially those used in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes are the most common offenders, and include garlic, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, saffron, coriander, mustard, caraway, fennel, poppy seeds, and dill.

Spice allergies, according to the U.K. Food Standards Agency, are usually mild and cause symptoms such as itching and sneezing, but they can occasionally trigger anaphylactic shock, a severe reaction that can be deadly.

Avoiding spices in processed foods can be difficult, because they're not always listed on product labels. Spices are also often used in cosmetics, such as body lotions and oils, making it more difficult to avoid a particular allergen.

"While spice allergy seems to be rare, with the constantly increasing use of spices in the American diet and a variety of cosmetics, we anticipate more and more Americans will develop this allergy," said allergist Sami Bahna, M.D., past president of the ACAAI. 

Alcohol: Natural ingredients such as hops in beer and sulfites in wine can trigger allergic reactions, as well as the grains used in many alcohol products such as wheat, corn, barley, and rye. Fruit flavorings, ethanol, grapes, malt, tryptamine, tyramine, and yeast, can all trigger allergies in sensitive people. Drinking liquors free of grain such as rum (made from sugar), vodka (made from potatoes), and tequila (made from agave) may help you avoid allergens as well as avoiding flavored liquors and only buying wines labeled "sulfite-free."

Costume jewelry and metal buttons: Costume jewelry and metal buttons on clothing are frequently made from nickel, a metal that produces an itchy rash on almost 20 percent of people. Replace metal buttons with plastic ones or coat them with clear nail polish. Traditionally, nickel was used in the manufacture of white gold, but most manufacturers now use other metals, such as silver, because of allergic reactions.

Cellphones: Cellphones, including smartphones, can contain cobalt and nickel, both guilty of causing redness, itching, swelling, eczema, blistering, skin lesions, and can even cause scarring in sensitive people. The ACAAI suggests using plastic phone cases, wireless ear pieces, and clear film screens to protect sensitive skin from allergy-inducing metals.

Chlorine: Chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs can cause itchy, red skin, or hives. According to the ACAAI, while not a true allergy, chlorine sensitivities can also trigger coughing, trouble breathing, tightness in the chest, wheezing, and stuffy or runny noses. Try to limit exposure to chlorine by showering thoroughly to remove any chlorine remaining on your skin.

Cleaning products: If cleaning products trigger itching and sneezing, chances are it's the perfume they contain. Solve the problem by buying organic products or those labeled "no additives" or "unscented." Also, some cleaning products contain limonene, a compound found in lemons and limes which irritates the skin, eyes, and noses of many people. If you're allergy-prone, avoid citrus-scented products.

Candles and plug-in air fresheners: Candles, especially scented candles, can irritate the nasal cavities and trigger allergies in sensitive individuals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, candles are usually made from petrochemicals that can release benzene, lead, and other chemicals. Scented candles are worse than unscented, says the EPA,  because they emit more particles known to cause breathing problems. Beeswax and soy candles are less likely to trigger allergies, as well as those with the fewest ingredients.

Air fresheners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause respiratory problems. According to the ACAII, VOCs commonly found in air fresheners include formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, limonene, esters, and alcohols. One study of plug-in deodorizers found they contained more than 20 different VOCs. More than one-third of the VOCs found are classified as toxic or hazardous — some at dangerous levels.


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For once, there seems to be no major onslaught of pollen and you know your house is free of dust and mold, but you are still sniffling and itching. What's to blame? Most people automatically blame pollen for allergy symptoms, but many allergens that aren't very well-known...
uncommon, allergy, triggers, alcohol, metals
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Tuesday, 03 May 2016 02:53 PM
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