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[aller(gy) + -gen]
Any substance that causes a hypersensitivity reaction or abnormal immune response. Allergens do not stimulate an immune response in everyone, only in those sensitized to them. Common allergens include inhalants (dusts, pollen), foods (wheat, eggs), drugs (aspirin, serum), infectious agents (e.g., bacteria, viruses), contactants (chemicals, animals), and physical agents (heat, cold).SEE: allergy; SEE: antigen; SEE: irritation; SEE: sensitization; SEE TABLE: Common Allergies and Allergens
Common Allergies and Allergens
Common NameScientific Name(s)Allergen DesignationAllergen ClassRepresentative Illnesses
AspirinAcetylsalicylic acid; other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugsAsaDrug allergenasthma, rhinitis, anaphylaxis
BirchBetulaBetAeroallergen (inhaled, or “outdoor” allergen)hay fever
CatFelis domesticusFelPet-associated (indoor)asthma, atopy, hives
CockroachBlatella germanicaBla gPest-associated allergen (indoor)asthma, atopy, hives
DogCanis familiarisCanPet-associated (indoor)asthma, atopy, hives
Dust miteBlomia tropicalis; Dermatophagoides farinae; EuroglyphusBlo t; Der f; EurIndoorallergic rhinitis; contact dermatitis; asthma
EggApovitellin; ovalbumin; ovomucoidGad d GalFood allergen
Imported fire antSolenopsis invictaSol iInsect venomanaphylaxis
IodineRadiologic contrastIoDrug allergenanaphylaxis
Latex (rubber)Hevea brasilensisHev bOccupational exposuresasthma, contact dermatitis, rhinitis
MoldsAlternaria alternata; Aspergillus fumigatus; Cladosporium herbarum; Penicillium notatumAlt a; Asp f; Cla h; Pen nIndoor and outdoorallergic rhinitis, asthma
MugwortArtemisia vulgarisArt vOutdoor allergenhay fever
OliveOlea europaeaOle eFood allergenanaphylaxis
PeanutArachis hypogaeaAra hFood allergenanaphylaxis
PenicillinBeta-lactamPcnDrug allergenanaphylaxis; rashes
RagweedAmbrosia artemisiifolia and othersAmbOutdoor allergenhay fever
Timothy grassPhleum pratensePhl pOutdoor allergenhay fever
Yellow jacket venomVespula vulgaris and othersVes vInsect venomanaphylaxis
WheatGliadins glutensTri aFood allergyanaphylaxis, “Baker’s asthma,” rhinitis

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