It’s not uncommon for people to develop allergies to various animals, foods, medications, and other substances. People with severe allergies may want to carry an EpiPen.

An allergy is an immune system response to a substance called an allergen. Common allergens include pollen, mold, insect venom, tree nuts, and latex.

Some allergies, such as pollen, are seasonal and can often be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Other allergies, such as latex, are best treated by avoiding the allergen.

Food allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to specific proteins found in food. They’re different than food intolerances, such as a gluten intolerance. Food allergies can cause sudden and severe reactions. In some cases, they may be life threatening.

Foods most commonly connected to food allergies include:

  • fish
  • shellfish
  • tree nuts
  • peanuts
  • milk
  • eggs

People with food allergies often carry fast-acting injectable treatment, such as an epinephrine pen (EpiPen), with them at all times in case of exposure. They’re also advised to avoid any foods that could contain an allergen.

There are multiple possible reactions to a variety of medications. Not all drug reactions are allergic reactions. However, people may experience symptoms such as rashes or difficulty breathing that can indicate an allergy to a medication.

Medications that are most often linked to allergic reactions include:

Healthcare professionals diagnose drug allergies by assessing your symptoms and your medical and medication history. You might also have a skin test done to see if an allergic reaction occurs.

If you’re allergic to a specific medication, your healthcare professional can find alternate treatment options.

Both stinging and non-stinging insects can cause allergic reactions. Stinging insect allergies include allergies to insects such as bees, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. People with this allergy have an immune system response to the venom these insects carry in their stingers.

They can experience severe symptoms, including a life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.

Non-stinging insects that can cause allergic reactions include cockroaches and tiny insect-like organisms like dust mites. Immune system reactions to these insects can cause year-round allergies that are more severe indoors. They can also aggravate conditions such as asthma.

Some people with severe allergies to stinging insects carry an EpiPen to make sure they’ll be prepared if they come in contact with insect venom.

Pets are another source of allergic reactions. Allergies are commonly caused by the dander (dead skin cells) of cats and dogs. They can also be caused by direct contact or saliva and urine on the dander.

Direct contact with dander can cause a skin reaction that leads to swelling, itching, and redness. Exposure to pets can also cause sneezing, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing. Some people experience worse asthma symptoms when they’re around cat or dog dander.

People with pet allergies may want to avoid or limit contact with their allergen, but antihistamine medications and regular cleaning can also help manage symptoms.

Mold grows in damp environments. It’s sometimes found inside houses and other buildings and can also be found outdoors. There are many types of mold, and not all of them cause allergies.

When mold does lead to allergies, it can lead to classic symptoms such as congestion, itchy eyes, and coughing. OTC or prescription allergy medications, including antihistamines, can help treat and manage mold allergies.

Pollen allergies are sometimes called seasonal allergies or hay fever. These allergies are likely to come and go as certain plants blossom, and their severity might vary from year to year. People with pollen allergies often experience itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and congestion.

There are OTC options to both prevent and treat pollen allergies. If OTC treatments aren’t helping, it can be a good idea to make a medical appointment. A doctor might be able to provide prescription treatment options that work better for you.

Latex is a substance sometimes used to make products such as rubber gloves, rubber bands, balloons, condoms, and some toys. It’s not used as often today as it was in the recent past.

People with latex allergies can break out in hives and experience itchy eyes, a runny nose, and coughing when they come in contact with latex. Severe symptoms can sometimes cause a fatal reaction.

Avoiding latex products is typically the best way to manage a latex allergy. Some people with latex allergies may also want to avoid certain foods, including:

  • peaches
  • kiwis
  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • figs
  • chestnuts
  • bananas
  • bell peppers

An allergy is the result of your immune system overreacting to a trigger. Common allergies include pollen, insect venom, latex, pet dander, peanuts, and mold.

Some allergies can be treated with OTC or prescription medications. For others, the best treatment is avoiding the trigger. A doctor can help you create the best plan to reduce or avoid symptoms.