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The 13 types of allergies, their characteristics and symptoms

The 13 types of allergies, their characteristics and symptoms

June 12, 2024

Our immune system is one of the most important in allowing us to survive, since thanks to it we are able to fight infections and problems derived from the invasion of microorganisms and substances with harmful potential coming from the environment.

However, this system sometimes reacts disproportionately and erroneously to non-dangerous stimulations, to which we acquire allergy. And what causes them or the type of reaction that they generate can vary enormously.

It is because of that We can talk about a wide variety of types of allergies , which can be classified according to various criteria. Throughout this article we will show some of the main typologies, in addition to indicating some of the most frequent.

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What is an allergy?

We call allergy to a process of biological origin through which the contact or consumption with a certain substance or element triggers a massive reaction of our immune system, which identifies that element as a toxic or noxious substance to which to try to expel .

It is a response generated by a hypersensitivity of our body to the stimulus in question, which is called allergen, and which causes our white blood cells synthesize antibodies to fight against said element . It must be borne in mind, however, that in order to properly speak of allergy, it is necessary that we are facing a reaction generated by immediate contact with some type of exogenous substance, being otherwise faced with other types of hypersensitivity or disorder (although very similar).

Exposure to this allergen generates a reaction by our disproportionate and excessive immune system in relation to the real danger that the stimulus in question can suppose, either because the stimulus to which it reacts or allergen is actually harmless for us or because the corporal reaction is disproportionate to the real danger that represents (such as the poison of a bee).

The reactions to this exposure can generate a wide variety of effects on the organism that can range from mild (these being the most common) to deadly (in cases of anaphylaxis not treated in time), being a health problem of the first order Although it is often undervalued, it can have severe consequences or generate difficulties in the day to day of those who suffer them.

At the same time allergies are one of the most common problems, being the usual cause of some conditions very common in most of the population and calculating that up to 40% of the population could suffer some type of allergy. As to what can generate it can be a great variability of substances and stimuli (some more frequent than others) that our immune systems can come to identify as dangerous, as well as the type of reaction or the way by which it can reach U.S. That is why we can talk about several types of allergies.

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1. Types of allergies according to the way of contact

A possible way to classify allergies can be found in the medium through which the allergen comes in contact with the organism. In this sense we find three main groups of allergies .

1.1. Allergy by inhalation

It is understood as such that type of allergies in which the allergenic substance is introduced into our body through inhalation of air, through respiratory or nasal . Usually they are small particles of substances such as pollen, dust or mites.

1.2. Contact allergies

This type of allergy is that which occurs when it is the direct contact at a physical level with a substance that generates an allergic reaction. It is usual to generate symptoms at the dermatological level and it is frequent for example in animal allergy.

1.3. Allergy by ingestion

Allergies by ingestion are all those in which the immune system reacts in a virulent way by identifying a substance that we have consumed as a pathogen. It is one of the types of allergy that usually has greater potential to cause serious damage and anaphylaxis . We usually talk about allergies to food or drugs.

1.4. Allergy by inoculation

Similar to the previous one, in this case we are talking about substances that are introduced into our interior by means of intravenous routes. It is usually allergies to medications (including anesthesia) or drugs that are not consumed orally. It is probably the most dangerous of all, since the allergen is introduced directly into the circulatory system and the reaction can occur in a generalized way throughout the body or in relevant parts for survival.

2. According to your symptoms

Another way to classify allergies can be found if we use as a differentiating criterion the type of symptoms generated by exposure to the allergen. In this sense, we can mainly find the following types of allergies.

2.1. Respiratory

Respiratory allergies are one of the most frequent types of allergies that exist, understood as those that generate an affectation at the level of the breathing process . Generally, the problems are found in the lungs or in the respiratory tract, making it difficult for the subject to breathe normally and causing problems such as coughs, bronchial problems, asthma or wheezing when breathing. It is usually caused by allergies by inhalation, although it is not essential.

2.2. Cutaneous / dermatological

Together with respiratory allergies they are the most frequent type of allergic reaction. It is common for contact allergies, but it also often occurs in allergies by ingestion or inoculation. In this case, the most common type of symptomatology is the appearance of some type of skin rash, ulcer, sore, urticaria, eczema or pruritus . It is the case of many dermatitis.

2.3. Nasal

Of the most visible, is the type of allergic reaction that generates sneezing, runny nose or itchy nose. Often confused with colds or flu, it usually proceeds as do the respiratory symptoms of allergen inhalation.

2.4. Eyepieces

Conjunctivitis, lacrimation and the ocular peak are allergic reactions at the ocular level that usually appear before allergens that they come in contact with our eyes .

2.5. Digestive

Another type of allergic reactions are digestive, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, inflammation or other gastrointestinal problems. It is common for food allergies, although they also appear in other types of allergy.

3. Three frequent varieties according to the time or place of exposure

In addition to the above types of allergies, we can also find three very frequent varieties depending on the type of situation, time or specific place in which the contact with the allergen usually occurs.

3.1. Seasonal allergy

Seasonal allergies are a well-known and very common type of allergy, in which the stimulus to which one is allergic tends to appear at some time or period of the year . One of the most obvious examples is the allergy to pollen, which usually generates more difficulties during the spring.

3.2. Food

Food allergies are a group of allergies that have as particularity the fact that the allergen in question is a product or substance that can generally be consumed by humans and that it can be nutritionally beneficial , but that in the person in question triggers a dangerous reaction with deadly potential.

It is possible that there was a period of time in which the subject could eat normally the product in question, before it acquired allergy. Among them we find allergies like that produced by nuts or shellfish.

3.3. Medicamentosa

This type of allergy refers to the presence of an extreme and adverse reaction on the part of the immune system to a priori substances designed to cure us or help us overcome some type of ailment or disease. It is one of the most dangerous types and that requires extreme care when choosing and administering drugs , since it can aggravate the patient's situation or even cause death.

3.4. Occupational

We designate as occupational allergy the type of disorder or allergic alteration generated by some type of stimulus from our occupation or work environment. This type of allergy can appear by any means of contact or manifest itself in different ways, although the most common is its appearance by respiratory or cutaneous, and what is definite is that it is generated by some substance proper to the workplace .

An example could be the appearance of an allergy in workers who perform the manipulation of chemicals or food in factories or during investigations, being in continuous contact with allergens.

Some of the most frequent

As we have said, there is a wide variety of stimuli that can trigger an allergy, given that the allergy It depends on what and how you hipersensibilize your own immune system : there are as common as the allergy to grasses to others as unusual as the allergy to semen or even water. In order to conclude this article, we will see four of the most frequent allergies.

To pollen

One of the most common and seasonal allergies is allergen the pollen of certain plants . It usually generates nasal problems, headaches and problems breathing normally.

To mites

Some small creatures highly frequent in places like our beds and sheets, usually generate respiratory and nasal problems. It is also usually associated with dust .


Although in this case we are including a fairly broad category, we have considered it necessary to include it given the high prevalence of food allergies in general. Highlights allergy to nuts, allergy to shellfish, allergy to dairy (important not to confuse with intolerance, which is not the same) or the allergy to exotic fruits.

To animal dander

Causing respiratory problems and also with the possibility of generating dermatological problems, the allergy to the dandruff of animals with hair is one of the most common. Fortunately for those who despite being allergic want to take care of a pet, there are animals whose fur or absence of it hinders the existence of dams or other allergenic substances.

Bibliographic references:

  • Gaitano Garcia, A. (s.f.). Allergy for nursing Basic allergology manual.
  • Pawankar, R .; Canonica, G.W .; Holgate, S.T. and Lockey, R.F. (2011). White paper on allergy of the WAO. Executive Summary. World Allergy Organization.

These 8 Foods Cause Most Allergic Reactions (June 2024).

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