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Allergen

Definition

An allergen is a substance that can cause an allergic reaction. In some people, the immune system recognizes allergens as foreign or dangerous. As a result, the immune system reacts by making a type of antibody called IgE to defend against the allergen. This reaction leads to allergy symptoms.

Information

Common allergens include:

  • Animal proteins and animal dander
  • Dust
  • Drugs (such as antibiotics or medicines you put on your skin)
  • Foods (such as egg, peanut, milk, nuts, soy, fish, animal meat, and wheat)
  • Fungal spores
  • Insect and mite feces
  • Insect bites and stings (their venom)
  • Natural rubber latex
  • Pollen

References

Stewart GA, Richardson JP, Zhang J, Robinson C. The structure and function of allergens. In: Adkinson NF, Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 26.