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Common Allergens and Allergic Symptoms

In this article we’ll look at the symptoms and causes of allergies and give some top tricks to control your symptoms.


This article has been medically approved by Superintendent Pharmacist Shilpa Shailen Karia, MRPharmS. - GPhC Reg No: 2087328

An allergy occurs when your immune system reacts unusually to something that isn’t normally harmful. It is thought that 1 in 4 people suffer with an allergy at some point in their lives. [1] Read our article below for more information on the symptoms, causes and treatments for allergies.


  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing/coughing/shortness of breath
  • Sinus pain/runny nose
  • Body rash/hives
  • Swelling
  • Itchy eyes, ears, lips, throat, and mouth

The symptoms of an allergic reaction can be very similar to the symptoms of a common cold. Read our article ‘Is It Hay Fever or a Cold?’ to find out how to tell them apart.

What Causes Allergies?

As previously mentioned, an allergy is caused by your immune system reacting in an unusual way to something that isn’t normally harmful. When an allergen enters your body it triggers an antibody response that causes the release of certain substances. One of these is histamine.

These substances are what causes the typical symptoms of an allergic reaction like swelling, inflammation and itching.

What are the common allergens?

  • Grass and tree pollen – triggers hay fever
  • Dust mites
  • Some medications
  • Latex
  • Animals – allergens are dander and saliva
  • Some food – particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs, and milk
  • Mould spores
  • Household chemicals

Coping with your allergies

Pollen – try to keep windows and doors closed. Wash or change clothes after being outside.

Pet allergies – keep pets out of bedrooms. Try to bathe pets regularly to remove saliva and dander allergens.

Dust mites – keep your house clean and free from dust. Wash soft toys at high temperatures to remove mites.

Mould spores – keep damp areas, like bathrooms, well ventilated.

Allergies can also be managed by taking antihistamines.