Lesson Plan - Get It!
Injections are not fun. Why might someone be willing to endure up to 20 shots?
Maybe 20 shots at once is more fun than 20 sneezes at once?
During an allergy test, you are injected with different allergens to determine which ones cause an immune response in your body. Recall what you learned during the previous Allergies lesson found under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar: allergens cause a cellular response leading to inflammation and the loosening of blood vessels.
After the allergy tests are given, the patient must wait to see which allergens cause a response. There are hundreds of allergens in our body, so it's a good thing we aren't allergic to all of them! There are several different types of allergies: food, skin, dust, insect sting, pet, drug, latex, mold, and pollen.
Download and print the Types of Allergies Worksheet found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. As you move through the lesson, use the worksheet to record the information you learn about types of allergies.
These allergies can occur year-round, or they can just occur seasonally. Seasonal allergies occur during a certain time of year based on environmental factors like plants releasing pollen for reproduction and wet conditions that foster mold growth.
Food allergies are caused when coming into contact with a food product that triggers an immune response. Common food allergens include eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, wheat, and soy. The reaction to these food products varies based on the severity of the allergy. Some people have mild symptoms like a rash, while others can experience anaphylaxis, or a very severe allergic reaction, from being in the same room as the allergen. If untreated, this reaction can lead to swelling that closes the airway. These individuals usually carry epinephrine injections on their person in case of an allergic reaction.
Epinephrine, or adrenaline, works to tighten the blood vessels back to normal size, to prevent the swelling that can cause oxygen loss. It also helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate, which both drop during a severe allergic reaction. It is an effective allergy treatment because it is able to offset the allergic reaction caused in the body, helping an individual recover.
Some individuals have skin allergies, and when they come into contact with different allergens they develop a rash or blisters. Skin allergies can be caused by many substances like soaps, shampoos, and detergents. Some people are even allergic to metals like nickel! It is important to pay attention to changes in your skin when you use a new product like a lotion or come into contact with plants like poison oak.
Dust, like the tiny particles floating around you right now, also cause allergy symptoms like breathing issues. It also causes skin irritation that can lead to itchiness. While you might think that cleaning your house may limit symptoms, it actually stirs up more dust particles. Most of the time, dust allergies are mild, and can be managed with daily allergy medication.
Insect sting allergies can be more dangerous, causing some people to experience anaphylaxis. Most people with this type of allergy are allergic to wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and bees. The number of red ant allergies is increasing as these creatures spread throughout the U.S.
Immediately after the sting, symptoms include pain, redness, and swelling. If untreated, people with severe allergies can move into anaphylactic shock. This allergy can also be treated with epinephrine to offset the allergic reaction in the body. In some cases, the reaction is so severe that even an epinephrine shot cannot treat the allergy. In those cases, the reaction can be fatal. Use the following resources to help you complete the worksheet on types of allergies:
These are just some of the types of allergies that create an immune system response. How do the different types of allergies vary? What allergies have you heard of that we did not discuss?
In the Got It? section, you will learn more about other types of allergies and the treatments involved. As you review each type, pay attention to the similarities and differences for each type.