Most allergy sufferers are familiar with common allergens like pollen, dust mites, and mold – but here are some unusual allergy triggers that may surprise you:
Cell Phones – Dermatologists report that more people are having allergic reactions to nickel in their cell phones. Nickel is a metal also found in jewelry and belt buckles, and it can cause rashes and blisters. Among cell phone users, a rash may appear on the face.
Flutes – Some children have experienced allergic dermatitis on their lips after playing a flute containing nickel. Other children have developed rashes on their legs after contact with nickel-plated studs on classroom chairs. Like other forms of allergy, nickel allergy appears to be increasing in incidence.
Black Henna Tattoos – The black dye used in temporary henna tattoos can cause allergic reactions for some people. Black henna ink contains p-phenylenediamine; this chemical, also found in some hair dyes, can cause severe skin problems and other allergies.
Parents – Allergic to parents? In at least one case, a young girl developed hives after hugging her father when he returned from work. It turns out that the girl had a severe food allergy to nuts, and she was having reactions to the nut-derived oil in her father’s shaving cream.
Chocolate – While chocolate allergy is extremely rare, it has been diagnosed in some individuals. Nut and dairy allergies are much more common.
Exercise – Physical exertion can lead to exercise-induced asthma and even exercise-induced anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe, multi-system allergic reaction that can lead to death. Usually, exercise-induced allergy appears after the ingestion of an allergenic food.
Extreme Temperatures – Hot and cold temperatures can cause hives for some people. Extreme temperatures, particularly cold air, can also cause asthma attacks.
Caterpillars – The hairs on some caterpillars contain a toxin that can cause allergic reactions. These tiny hairs can even float in the air like pollen, and they’ve been implicated in allergic reactions among large groups of people.
Ladybugs – Asian ladybug beetles often end up indoors (because they don’t like cold weather), and they can be powerful allergens, causing hay fever, coughing, wheezing, and watery eyes. Ladybugs have been called a “new seasonal indoor allergen” by experts. Seal all cracks and crevices in your home to prevent them from getting inside, and vacuum regularly with a HEPA vacuum cleaner to pick up any allergens.
Cancer Medication – Cetuximab, also known as Erbitux, is normally given to people with colon cancer or head and neck cancer, and it causes an unusually high rate of allergic reactions. In some locations, up to 20 percent of patients reported allergic reactions!