Common Questions

1. What is a trigger?

A trigger can be allergic or non-allergic, and is basically anything that causes you to have allergy-like symptoms.

2. What are common triggers?

Triggers come from many different sources. Common triggers include pet dander, pollen in the air, mold, pollution, smoke, grass, and trees - even exercise can be a trigger.


3. Can I be allergic to more than one allergen?

Yes. Most people with allergies are allergic to more than one allergen. Their symptoms might appear only when they are exposed to two or more triggers at once.

4. Can I guess my triggers based on my symptoms?

Not necessarily. Symptoms can be caused by many different allergic or non-allergic triggers. Using symptoms like congestion, sneezing, coughing, or wheezing to guess your triggers is not very helpful. There are many possible inhalant allergic triggers (indoor and outdoor, seasonal and perennial), so if you are allergic and you try to guess your allergic triggers, you might guess wrong. You also won’t have the whole picture.

5. Why do some people become allergic and others not?

Genetic factors determine how easily and how strongly the individual will become sensitized and how much IgE antibodies will be produced. Sensitization, inflammation and irritation of tissue may develop differently in individual patients, subsequent to different exposures.

6. Can an allergic patient develop allergies to new allergens throughout life?

The development of allergy in relation to age can be described as an "allergy march". This means that there is often a given direction, once atopic immune responses associated with IgE antibodies have been initiated and induced the atopic state.

The manifestation of atopic disease varies considerably with the age of the child, as do the allergens involved. In infancy allergies to foods seem to be the most common, after the age of 3 allergy to inhalant becomes predominant. New causative allergens could be added due to higher concentrations of exposure, or as quite new allergens. However, the immune system tends to be less active in older days.

7. If I have asthma, should I be checked for allergies?

Yes. That’s because if you have both conditions and the allergies go untreated, the combination could damage your delicate airways. Research shows that the majority of people with asthma (up to 60% of adults and up to 90% of children) also have allergies. Testing to identify your allergic triggers will help you and your healthcare provider better manage your symptoms.

8. What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?

It is common to confuse the terms food allergy and food intolerance. However, they do not mean the same thing. Food intolerance, unlike food allergy, does not involve the immune system. Lactose intolerance, trouble digesting the milk sugar lactose, is a common example. Symptoms usually include bloating, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.

Food allergy, on the other hand, does involve the immune system. It occurs when the body produces IgE antibodies to a certain food. Common symptoms are hives and asthma.

9. What is the prevalence of allergy?

Around 35% of the population have allergic symptoms, although the frequency of allergy may vary from country to country.