Our immune system is one of the most important for us to survive, because thanks to it we are able to fight infections and problems resulting from the invasion of microorganisms and potentially harmful substances from the environment.
However, this system sometimes reacts disproportionately and erroneously to normally non-dangerous stimuli, to which we contract allergies. And their causes or the type of reaction they generate can vary widely.
That is why we can talk about a wide variety of types of allergies, Which can be classified according to different criteria. Throughout this article, we’ll show some of the main typologies, in addition to pointing out some of the most common.
What is an allergy?
We call allergy a process of biological origin by which contact or consumption with a given substance or element triggers a massive reaction of our immune system, which identifies this element as a toxic or harmful substance to try to expel.
It is a response generated by our body’s hypersensitivity to the stimulus in question, which is called an allergen, and which causes that our white blood cells synthesize antibodies to fight this element. It should be borne in mind, however, that in order to speak correctly of allergy, we must be faced with a reaction generated by immediate contact with one type of exogenous substance, if not with other types of hypersensitivity or disorder (although very similar).
Exposure to this allergen triggers a reaction by our immune system disproportionate and excessive in relation to the real danger that the stimulus in question may pose, either because the stimulus to which they are reacting or are allergic is really harmless to us, or because the bodily reaction is disproportionate to the real danger that ‘it represents (like the venom of a bee).
Reactions to this exposure can have a wide range of effects on the body which can range from mild (most common) to fatal (with untreated anaphylaxis). be a major health problem that if it is generally underestimated, it can have serious consequences or generate difficulties in the daily life of those who suffer from it.
In turn, allergies are one of the most common problems, being the common cause of some very common conditions in most people and it is estimated that up to 40% of the population could suffer from some type of disease. ‘allergy. As for what it can generate, we can find a great variability of substances and stimuli (some more frequent than others) that our immune system can identify as dangerous, as well as the type of reaction or the way by which it. can reach us. That is why we can talk about different types of allergies.
1. Types of allergies according to the contact route
One possible way to classify allergies can be found in the medium through which the allergen comes into contact with the body. In this sense, we find three main groups of allergies.
1.1. Inhalation allergies
It is understood as such as the type of allergies in which the allergenic substance is introduced into our body by inhalation of air, respiratory or nasal. These are usually small particles of substances such as pollen, dust or mites.
1.2. Contact allergies
This type of allergy is what happens when it is direct physical contact with a substance that generates an allergic reaction. It is common to generate symptoms at the dermatological level and is common for example in animal allergy.
1.3. Allergies by ingestion
Ingestion allergies are all those in which the immune system reacts virulently by identifying a substance that we have consumed as a pathogen. It is one of the types of allergies that it usually has more potential to cause severe damage and anaphylaxis. We usually talk about allergies to food or drugs.
1.4. Allergies to inoculation
Similar to the above, in this case we are talking about substances that are introduced into our interior through such routes as intravenous. These are usually allergies to drugs (including anesthetics) or to drugs that are not taken orally. It is probably the most dangerous of all, because the allergen is introduced directly into the circulatory system and the reaction can be spread throughout the body or in parts relevant to survival.
2. According to their symptoms
Another way to classify allergies can be found if one uses as a criterion of differentiation the type of symptoms generated by exposure to the allergen. In this regard, we can mainly find the following types of allergies.
Respiratory allergies are one of the most common types of allergies, including as such those that cause an affectation in the breathing process. The problems are usually found in the lungs or airways, which makes it difficult for the subject to breathe normally and causes problems such as coughing, bronchial problems, asthma, or wheezing. It is usually caused by inhalation allergies, although this is not essential.
2.2. Skin / dermatology
Respiratory allergies are the most common type of allergic reaction. It is common in contact allergies, but also often occurs in allergies by ingestion or inoculation. In this case, the most common type of symptomatology is the appearance of a certain type of rash, ulcer, sore, hives, eczema, or itching. This is the case with many dermatitis.
Among the most noticeable, this is the type of allergic reaction that generates sneezing, mucus or itchy nose. Often mistaken for the common cold or the flu, it usually proceeds similarly to the respiratory symptoms of inhaling allergens.
Conjunctivitis, tearing, and eye beak are allergic reactions to the eyes that usually appear on the face from allergens that they come in contact with our eyes.
Another type of allergic reaction is digestive, which can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, inflammation, or other gastrointestinal problems. It is common in food allergies, although they also appear in other types of allergies.
3. Three common varieties depending on the time or place of exhibition
In addition to the above types of allergies, we can also find three very common varieties depending on the type of situation, time or specific place in which contact with the allergen usually occurs.
3.1. seasonal allergy
Seasonal allergies are a very well known and very common type of allergy, in which the stimulus he is allergic to tends to appear at a particular time or time of the year. One of the most obvious examples is pollen allergy, which usually causes more difficulty in the spring.
3.2. the food
Food allergies are a group of allergies that have the peculiarity that the allergen in question is a product or substance that can generally be consumed by humans and that it may be nutritionally beneficialBut this triggers in the person in question a dangerous reaction with life-threatening potential.
There may have been a period during which the subject could normally eat the product in question, before contracting an allergy to it. Among them are allergies such as those caused by nuts or seafood.
This type of allergy refers to the presence of an extreme and unwanted reaction of the immune system to substances which are presumably designed to cure or help us overcome some kind of ailment or disease. It is one of the most dangerous types and that requires extreme care when choosing and administering medicationBecause it can worsen the patient’s condition or even lead to death.
We refer to the type of disorder or allergic disorder generated by a certain type of stimulus from our profession or our work environment as an occupational allergy. This type of allergy can appear by any means of contact or manifest in different ways, although the most common is its onset through the respiratory or skin route, and what defines it is that it is generated. by a substance specific to the workplace.
An example could be the appearance of an allergy in workers who handle chemicals or food in factories or during research, being in constant contact with allergens.
Some of the most common
As we said, there is a wide variety of stimuli that can trigger an allergy, because the allergy it depends on what and how we hypersensitize our own immune system: Some range from allergy to grasses to others as rare as allergies to semen or even to water. To conclude this article, we’ll take a look at four of the most common allergies.
One of the most common and usually seasonal allergies is from an allergen. pollen from certain plants. It usually causes nasal problems, headaches, and difficulty breathing normally.
A small creature very common in places like our beds and sheets, usually causes respiratory and nasal problems. It is also often associated with dust.
If in this case we are including a fairly broad category, we have found it necessary to include it given the high prevalence of food allergies in general. They highlight the allergy to nuts, seafood allergy, dairy allergy (Important not to be confused with intolerance, which is not the same) or allergy to exotic fruits.
In animal dandruff
Causing respiratory problems and also with the possibility of generating dermatological problems, allergy to dandruff in hairy animals is one of the most common. Fortunately for those who, despite their allergy, want to take care of a pet, there are animals whose coat or lack thereof prevents them from having dandruff or other allergens.
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- Pawankar, R .; Canonica, GW; Holgate, ST and Lockey, RF (2011). WAO Allergy White Paper. Summary. World Allergy Organization.