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The information contained on this page is provided as general health information and is not intended to substitute as medical advice and direction from your physician or health care provider. Please direct any questions related to your health care provider. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency center.


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

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Positive reaction to allergen

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.