Our immune system is one of the most important when allowing us to survive, since thanks to it we are able to fight infections and problems arising from the invasion of microorganisms and substances with harmful potential 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.
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 will show some of the main typologies, in addition to indicating some of the most frequent.
What is an allergy?
We denominate allergy to a process of biological origin through which the contact or consumption with a determined substance or element triggers a massive reaction of our immune system, which identifies this element as a toxic or harmful 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 to synthesize antibodies to fight against that 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 from our disproportionate and excessive immune system in relation to the real danger that the stimulus in question can cause, either because the stimulus to which it reacts or allergen is actually harmless for us or because the body reaction is disproportionate to the real danger it represents (such as the poison of a bee).
The reactions to this exposure can generate a wide variety of effects on the body that can range from mild (these being the most common) to deadly (in cases of anaphylaxis not treated in time), being a major health problem that weighs The fact that it is often undervalued can have severe consequences or generate difficulties in the daily lives 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.
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 the inhalation of air, 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 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 the greatest 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, given that the allergen is introduced directly into the circulatory system and the reaction can occur in a generalized manner throughout the body or in parts relevant to 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.
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, hives, eczema or pruritus. It is the case of many dermatitis.
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.
Conjunctivitis, lacrimation and the ocular peak are allergic reactions at the ocular level that usually appear before allergens that come in contact with our eyes.
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.
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 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.
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 requires extreme care when choosing and administering drugs, since it can aggravate the patient’s situation or even cause death.
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 specific 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 allergy depends on what and how to hypersensitize our own immune system: there are as common as allergy to grasses to other so unusual like the allergy to semen or even to water. In order to conclude this article, we will see four of the most frequent allergies.
One of the most common and seasonal allergies is the allergen pollen of certain plants. It usually generates nasal problems, headaches and problems breathing normally.
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. They emphasize the allergy to the dry fruits, the allergy to the shellfish, the allergy to the milk products (important not to confuse with intolerance, that is not the same) or the allergy to the 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.