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Allergen

Definition

An allergen is a substance that can cause an allergic reaction.  In some people, the immune system thinks allergens are foreign or dangerous. This is what leads to allergy symptoms.

Information

Common allergens include:

  • Animal proteins and animal dander
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Chemicals
  • Dust
  • Drugs (such as antibiotics or medications you put on your skin)
  • Foods (such as milk, chocolate, strawberries, wheat)
  • Perfumes
  • Plants
  • Pollen
  • Smoke

References

Wasserman SI. Approach to the patient with allergic or immunologic disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 257.


Review Date: 1/13/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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