Almost any substance can cause an allergic reaction. Common types of allergens include:

  • Animals
  • Dust
  • Cockroach
  • Mold, mildew and fungi
  • Trees, grass and weeds
  • Foods
  • Insect stings
  • Medications

Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms including:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Congestion

Food allergies and bee stings can cause symptoms, which range from annoying to life-threatening. These may include the above symptoms plus nausea, vomiting and difficulty breathing. The Food Allergy Network estimates that 125 people die each year from food allergy reactions. Statistics also indicate that about 25 people die each year from insect stings, however this figure could be much higher.

Decreasing Allergy Symptoms

There are three main ways to decrease allergy symptoms and treat allergies.

  1. Allergy Avoidance Measures Avoidance measures are ways to eliminate your exposure to the substances (allergens). you are allergic to. By reducing your body's exposure to allergens you can reduce your symptoms. You and your allergist will need to identify the measures that would be most appropriate for you. Trying to do "too much" is expensive and frustrating. Click on the items listed below to find ways to decrease exposure to that allergen. Animals Cockroaches Mold, Mildew and Fungi Trees, Grass and Weeds For most people avoidance measures are only part of the plan to help relieve symptoms. They must often be combined with medications and/or allergy injections (immunotherapy).
  2. Allergy Medications You and your allergist can decide which medications are best for you. There are five basic types of medications: Antihistamine Decongestant Combination antihistamine and decongestant Nasal sprays Eye drops For more on medications used to treat allergy symptoms, visit our Allergies Medicine Cabinet.
  3. Allergy Injections (immunotherapy)