What Is An Allergy
To put it simply, an allergy is developed when the body elicits an immune response to an otherwise benign substance, known as the allergen. This hypersensitivity is the result of antibodies that the immune system has formed in response to the allergen, having mistaken the allergen for a threat. The body then continues to release these antibodies every time the allergen comes in contact, triggering an allergic reaction where histamine is released. Histamine is the chemical responsible for the characteristic symptoms of allergies: itching, swelling, inflammation, coughing, and hives.
The most common types of allergies include:
- Respiratory allergies: These include common allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, air pollutants, chemical fumes, smoke, and pet dander.
- Food allergies: The big eight food allergies are shellfish, wheat, soy, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts , and fish.
- Skin allergies: Patients with skin allergies develop a severe reaction when the allergen is exposed to the skin. Allergic reactions commonly take the form of hives or contact dermatitis, which can include rashes and blisters.
Theoretically, a patient could form an allergy to anything the immune system mistakes for a threat, from water to bodily fluids.
The Most Uncommon Food Allergies
When people suffer from food allergies, it tends to come from what is commonly referred to as the Big Eight. These common food allergies include the following:
- Tree nuts
However, there are other foods out there that could cause an allergic reaction that are less common and can be difficult to detect. Continue reading to find out about the most uncommon food allergies that you could be suffering from without realizing it.
Exotic Meat Should Be Avoided When Suffering From Chicken Meat Allergy
Exotic specialties are attractive, and many people enjoy novel foods. However, for food-allergic individuals, this may pose an additional and unexpected risk. Ballardini et al. reported an anaphylactic reaction in a 13-year-old boy when consuming crocodile meat for the first time. After immediate treatment with rescue medication, the diagnostic follow-up confirmed that the patient was allergic to chicken and turkey meat. Since the first diagnosis at the age of 5 years, his family avoided both meat species meticulously.
Further in vitro tests showed the presence of IgE antibodies directed against -parvalbumin, present in both chicken and turkey meat samples. Both parvalbumins share the identical amino acid sequence. When looking for IgE cross-reactivity in the crocodile meat sample, a cross-reactive protein was detected and identified as -parvalbumin, which shares 94% sequence similarity to the chicken homologue.
So far, parvalbumins have been known as major food allergens in many fish species and have been described also from frog meat. However, these proteins belong to the group of -parvalbumins. In the case of chicken meat allergy, -parvalbumins are the causative food allergen. This type of food allergy is rather rare, and actual prevalence data are unknown to date. This European case report is the first one describing chicken meat allergy with clinical cross-reactivity to crocodile meat due to -parvalbumins.
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Rare Allergies That Actually Exist
Allergies are of so many types and forms, but then there are some allergies which are extremely rare that at some point, you feel like they dont even exist, but they actually do in real life and some allergy clinics do see patients with these allergies. Here is a list of such allergies and their causes.
Eat Veggies Instead: Allergy To Pollinated Fruit
If you are one of the millions of Americans who have pollen allergies, you could experience a type of allergy known as oral allergy syndrome. “This allergy occurs when someone is allergic to pollen and then eats a fruit that contains the same protein as the pollen,” explains Ford. This is called cross reactivity, and it can occur between ragweed and bananas, grasses and tomato, and birch trees and apples, plums, or peaches. Symptoms of such allergies are an itchy mouth and throat, and sometimes swelling of the lips. Symptoms usually go away if you swallow or spit out the fruit, and treatment is usually not necessary.
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Myth Or Reality: Allergy To Electricity
People who claim to suffer from electrosensitivity say they are sensitive to electricical fields generated by products such as cell phones, microwaves, computers, and power lines. Symptoms of electricity allergy include headache, ringing in the ears, fatigue, and many other complaints. This is one type of allergy you probably do not have to worry about, says Ford, because there is “no such thing.” There have actually been several studies done to see if electrosensitivity exists, and almost all of the studies have come up empty.
What Else Could I React To
If you are allergic to bananas, cross-reactivity with latex may mean you also react to avocado, kiwi or chestnut. People with a banana allergy sometimes also experience oral reactions to other fruits such as peach, olive and tomato, and raw vegetables such as bell pepper and carrot.
- If you know or suspect you have a banana allergy, getting expert medical advice is vital. See your GP in the first instance.
- If your allergy is diagnosed as potentially severe and you are prescribed adrenaline auto-injectors, make sure you carry them with you at all times and know how to use them.
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Can Someone Be Allergic To Water
It may seem like a strange question, but the answer is yes. There is a very rare condition known as aquagenic urticaria where skin contact with water causes itchy, red hives or swelling. In severe cases, it can cause wheezing or shortness of breath.
There have been only about 50 cases reported in literature. The hives occur when the skin comes into contact with any type of water, including rain, snow, sweat and tears. The reaction is not impacted by the temperature of the water.
Symptoms normally start within 30 minutes of exposure to water and can last between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Symptoms usually go away on their own.
While aquagenic urticaria can happen in adults and children of any gender, it is more common in females during or after puberty.
Reactions do not typically occur when drinking water because the water doesnt touch the skin. Some may experience symptoms on the lips or inside the mouth, however.
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Treatment For Aquagenic Urticaria
Because so few people have aquagenic urticaria, there is not a lot of interest in finding treatments for it. Those with the condition commonly use two strategies to manage it. Two other methods are possible.
Antihistamines. The usual treatment for hives, no matter what type, is antihistamines. Doctors prefer second-generation antihistamines because they cause less drowsiness than the older formulas. Cetirizine is a frequent choice.
Barriers. Creams and other substances that form a barrier between the water and the skin are also helpful. Some experts recommend that these agents be tried before antihistamines, especially with children who are allergic to water.
Ultraviolet light therapy. using ultraviolet light is a less commonly used treatment. It toughens the skin and makes it less sensitive to water. The idea is to make the skin more like that on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, as water rarely causes a reaction in those places.â
Omalizumab. Doctors have had some success treating hives with an allergy medicine, omalizumab. One person with aquagenic urticaria eliminated all symptoms and could even go swimming after using this drug. There are some problems with using omalizumab. It is off-label for hives, and it is more costly than other treatments.
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How Is Aquagenic Urticaria Diagnosed
Diagnosis of aquagenic urticaria is usually based on the reported symptoms by the patient. Confirmation may be done through a water challenge test. This test involves applying a cloth dampened with room temperature water to the skin for about 20 minutes.2 If the patient develops hives, the diagnosis is confirmed.
Solar Flare: Allergy To The Sun
“Solar urticaria is another of the physical urticarias, explains Ford. Symptoms are hives caused by sun exposure. The hives can be treated with antihistamines, and avoidance of sun can prevent this reaction.” Fortunately, sun allergy is very rare. When it happens, the hive symptoms, which include stinging and itching, appear within 30 minutes of sun exposure and clear up within minutes of getting out of the sun. The reaction seems to be caused by ultraviolet light. Antihistamines can relieve the reaction but not prevent it.
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Allergy To Beer A Rare Disease
Compared to the daily consumption rate of beer worldwide, the risk of an allergic reaction is rather rare. However, there are some case reports on allergic reactions to beer ingredients. A UK study reported that a man developed an anaphylactic reaction to a special beer variety. In skin prick testing, he was positive for wheat, barley, and maize. The in vitro IgE tests provided positive results for Pru p 3 ) from peach. The following laboratory tests verified that the nsLTPs from wheat, barley, and maize were the causative allergen still present in this beer variety, while other varieties had much lower levels of these allergens .
Another case report from the United Kingdom highlighted the relevance of additional ingredients as allergens. A woman developed anaphylaxis upon consumption of a specific beer variety. When checking the ingredient list of this drink, coriander was listed as giving a special flavor to this beer. The diagnostic test in the patient verified that indeed coriander was the culprit allergen, while barley and hops tested negative .
However, due to a vast variety of specific regional beer varieties, with different taste and addition of unconventional ingredients, which are not always labelled as such, a risk of developing an allergic reaction to hidden allergens is possible. Especially addition of spices represents a risk for the allergic consumer.
The Rarest Allergies In The World
Regardless of what allergy you have, any form of hypersensitivity is inconvenient at best and life-threatening at worst. Fortunately, the more common allergies have a modicum of public knowledge on their side, with the majority of allergens relatively avoidable in your daily life. Moreover, the more common your allergy is, the more medical research and treatment that is available to you and your doctor. But what do you do when your allergy is rare and the allergen is omnipresent?
Heres a look at some of the worlds rarest, strangest, and most crippling allergies.
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An Allergy To Vibrations
A very rare form of physical urticarial is caused by vibrations that seem to trigger the release of inflammatory substances into the body, thus causing hives and rashes. This type of allergy can make everyday basic activities such as clapping, running, travelling or using a drill stressful and problematic. Luckily, most reactions caused by vibrations are relatively short-lasting, usually less than an hour.
Cold Familial Cold Autoinflammatory Syndrome
Not many people love being in the cold, but imagine being allergic to it. Known as familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome or simply cold urticaria, this allergy is caused by cold temperatures. The cold weather will trigger the body to release histamine in the skin which causes rashes, hives, redness, and swelling. This condition can be deadly, especially if undiagnosed, as most people may at times swim in a cold pool or take a cool shower. Both of these can cause the body to go into shock.
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On The Bench: Allergy To Exercise
This type of allergy has been reported in the medical literature only about 1,000 times since the 1970s. In mild cases, exercise allergy causes only urticaria, or hives, but in a more severe form, it can lead to anaphylaxis, a dangerous condition in which your blood pressure drops suddenly and you have trouble breathing. “There are two types of exercise allergy, Ford says. One type occurs after eating food and within two hours of exercise, and the other occurs without eating food. In either case, you should stop exercising, but you can prevent the food-related type by not eating before exercise.” Treatment of anaphylaxis, a medical emergency, may require injections of the drug epinephrine.
Why Am I Suddenly Allergic To My Wedding Ring
A reaction to a particular piece of jewelry may occur suddenly because nickel salts tend to come to the surface years later, or after protective coating has worn away. You get more exposure to nickel the older the piece of jewelry is, says Jeffrey Benabio, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.
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What Is The Treatment For Solar Urticaria
Once you develop solar urticaria, it is usually a lifelong condition. There is no cure for solar urticaria. Preventing sun exposure and managing symptoms are the principal treatments.
Avoid sun exposure. Keeping your skin from direct sun exposure may reduce the frequency of reactions. You can wear clothing that is tightly woven and covers your chest, arms, and legs. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses can protect your face. You may be most comfortable staying indoors or in the shade during very sunny times of day.
Sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen may protect your skin from some sun exposure. Researchers have found that UVB rays are more likely to trigger a reaction, so you should look for sunscreens that block those rays. Sunscreens that physically block or reflect the sun may be more helpful than chemical sunscreens, which are formulated to block UVA rays. Ingredients such as titanium and zinc are often effective at deflecting UVB rays and preventing solar urticaria reactions. You should reapply sunscreen frequently while you are outdoors.
Antihistamines. Because solar urticaria is an allergy, allergy medicine can be helpful in controlling outbreaks. Antihistamines control the release of the histamine that causes rashes and inflammation in sun-exposed skin. Your doctor will suggest the medication that will be the most effective. You may need a dose that is higher than usual, so be sure to ask your doctor about the appropriate dosing.
Fruits That Were Harvested Near Birch
People allergic to birch tree may suffer allergies to certain fruits and vegetables including carrot, hazelnut, celery, apple, kiwi, pear and peaches, especially when they were planted near a birch tree. Known as cross-reactivity, the condition is seen to people with allergic rhinitis during the peak of seasonal allergies. Similarly, people who are allergic to ragweed may also be hypersensitive to accessory fruits like cucumber, zucchini, melon and banana
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World’s Most Rare And Uncommon Allergies
Hay fever is a common pollen allergy which affects one in four people, although the symptoms can be managed with a range of medicines. While you or someone you know probably suffers from hay fever, there are some allergies which are far more unusual.
Here, we take a look at some of the most unique examples of different allergies.
How Is Aquagenic Urticaria Treated
With many things that cause hives, patients are told to avoid the trigger. But water avoidance is just not realistic. That would mean forgoing bathing, not going outside when it is raining, and avoiding activities that cause sweat. So treatment with medications is often needed.
Antihistamines are often recommended. Doctors prefer second generation H1 antihistamines because they cause less drowsiness. Additional treatment is often needed.
Topical medications are effective in many cases. Creams can help form a barrier between the skin and water. Patients are advised to apply a petroleum-based cream or an oil-in-water emulsion prior to water exposure.2
If oral antihistamines and topical treatments are not effective, there are other options. Phototherapy has been used to treat aquagenic urticaria successfully in some patients. In addition, talk with your doctor about other possible treatments such as the biologic omalizumab, steroid medications, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors .2
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Uncommon But Real Allergies
The top eight allergens that cause the most allergic reactions areeggs, milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish but did you know that there are other severe allergies that affect a small percentage of people? Certain people have allergic reactions to everyday activities. While allergy testing is accurate most of the time, the tests cant detect every single allergy. So these allergies often go unnoticed.
NY Allergy & Sinus Centers is here to bring awareness to rare allergies. Here are 5 uncommon but completely real allergies.
What Is Oral Allergy Syndrome
In many cases, these reactions are caused by oral allergy syndrome . People with OAS have usually already been diagnosed with nasal allergies to things like tree, weed, or grass pollen.
Some foods contain proteins that are similar in structure to these inhaled allergens. This causes people with OAS to have food allergy symptoms when they consume those foods. This is a process known as cross-reactivity.
Cross-reactivity has been documented between birch pollen, mugwort pollen, grass pollens, ragweed, and Timothy grass with a variety of fruits, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
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Beyond Brrr: Allergy To Cold
Cold urticaria, another of the physical urticarias, is very rare, but potentially dangerous. “Cold urticaria can be life-threatening if a person is suddenly exposed to extreme cold, such as diving into very cold water. This can cause a massive release of histamine, which can severely drop the blood pressure,” notes Ford. Managing this type of allergy centers on prevention avoiding exposure of large areas of skin to the cold and never swimming alone.