Do you know the 11 most common allergies?
There are certain questions I get asked every day: “what am I allergic to?” “What are the most common allergies?” “What is triggering my allergies?”
Of course, I’m an allergist so trying to find out the most common allergens is not an uncommon question for me. But I am not everyone’s allergist, and a lot of people want to know the most common allergies.
Specifically, I’ve written this article so YOU, too, can know the most common allergies and, once we know the common allergens, I can help you answer the question “what am I allergic to?”
Allergy Cause vs. Allergy Triggers
I recently wrote an article trying to explain the actual cause of allergies. It was kind of a boring article (I’ll fix that later by adding cat videos) but the TL;DR was: your immune system is the CAUSE of your allergies.
However, what is important to you (and almost everyone) is to learn the TRIGGERS of your allergy symptoms.
Knowing the difference between allergy causes and allergy triggers is important if you want a correct diagnosis and correct treatment.
First, get the right diagnosis
I know you want to jump into the most common cause of allergies, but consider these facts:
- Only 33% of people with “allergy symptoms” have a diagnosis of true allergic rhinitis.
- 1 out of every 4 people have an diagnosis of irritant rhinitis (also known as irritant allergies or non-allergic rhinitis)!
- Irritant allergies which causes the SAME SYMPTOMS as true allergic rhinitis, but with different most common allergens!
You really need to know your correct diagnosis. The most common allergies are different based on your diagnosis.
But the REAL reason the actual diagnosis is so important:
The correct diagnosis determines what medications I should choose to treat you.
If you are unsure of your actual diagnosis, take this 5 minute quiz and we can get you that answer first!
Proper diagnosis leads to proper treatment
I am creating a whole series dedicated to properly treating allergy symptoms (email me if you want to know details of a particular topic before I have published the entire series). But for now, the summary of treatment based on diagnosis is:
General Treatment for a diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis:
To treat a diagnosis of allergic rhinitis, I need to use avoidance strategies and medications that affect your allergy immune response:
- Identify most common allergies (download the full list )
- Avoid or reduce exposure to the most common allergens
- Medications can include:
- Nasal steroids
- Nasal antihistamines
- Possibly leukotriene inhibitors
- Consider immunotherapy
- Sublingual allergy tablets
- Allergy drops
- Allergy shots
General Treatment for a diagnosis of Irritant Rhinitis:
To treat a diagnosis of irritant rhinitis (irritant allergies / non-allergic rhinitis), I need to use avoidance strategies and medications that calm down the nose’s surface / nerve response to irritants:
- Identify most common irritant triggers (download the full list )
- Avoid or reduce exposure to your triggers
- Consider starting a nasal saline / nasal wash
- Medications can include:
- Nasal steroids
- Nasal antihistamines
- Nasal anticholinergics
- Possible structural evaluation
- Consider CT sinus
- Consider ENT involvement
- Possibly even sinus surgeries
- There is no role for allergy immunotherapy to the most common allergens
If you don’t have the right diagnosis, you will get the wrong medication pathway and bad advice for the most common allergies/triggers.
Note: if you didn’t take the quiz to get the right diagnosis earlier, here’s another chance!
So what are the most common allergies / most common allergen triggers?
It’s FINALLY time to answer the question “what am I allergic to?”
It is important to identify the most common allergen triggers because if you’re able to remove or reduce exposure to the common triggers, you actually can get better control of your allergy symptoms with fewer medications. So what are triggers?
Triggers are the identifiable substance or exposure that causes the allergy symptoms happen.
The Most Common Allergies / Most Common Allergen Triggers:
- Tree, grass, or weed pollen
- Molds (indoor and outdoor)
- Pets (cats, dogs, mouse, gerbils, feathers)
- Dust mites
The Most Common Irritant / Non-Allergic Triggers:
- Strong smells, odors, perfumes
- Wind or when the dust is blown by the wind
- Cold air or dry air
- Cigarette smoke / cigar smoke / any smoke
- Sometimes pollution or air quality
As you can see, the most common allergies / most common allergen triggers are very different between allergic and irritant rhinitis.
Avoiding the appropriate triggers is the first step in treating a diagnosis of allergic rhinitis or a diagnosis of irritant rhinitis.
How do you avoid the most common allergies / most common allergens?
This is a fairly complicated topic.
I am currently writing a post (should be out in the next few weeks) about how to avoid the most common allergies / most common allergens, but you can email me if you want to ask tips and advice before the article is completed.
Putting it together: your medical plan for your question “what am I allergic to?”
A good treatment plan for assessing the most common allergies should include all of the following:
- Get a correct diagnosis.
- The quiz is a good first step. But the diagnosis should be confirmed with either a scratch test or a blood test.
- Feel free to ask me if you are unsure what is the next appropriate step.
- Once you’ve established the correct diagnosis, determine the most common allergies or irritant triggers )
- Create (as best as possible) a common allergen / trigger reduction and avoidance strategy
- This will help you feel better with fewer medications
- It will also help you predict when you may need more medications
- Ultimately, this give you more control over your allergy symptoms
- After you reduce the triggers, start medications based on the treatment for the correct diagnosis pathway.
I hope this does a better job of explaining the difference between the most common allergens / triggers and the underlying allergy cause. It is not just an academic exercise but should be a part of a well-developed allergy symptoms treatment plan.
If you have questions, please ask and I will be happy to help.
Otherwise, leave a comment below if you have any tips or tricks for avoiding / reducing exposure to the most common allergies / most common allergens below.Do you know the 11 most common allergens?Click To Tweet