According to MSNBC, more than 35 million North Americans recognize the following symptoms all too well: Puffy eyes, a mysterious rash, itching or a sudden sneezing fit! These are all signs that you have an allergy. While most people associate allergies with things like food, pollen, pet dander or dust mites, doctors say anything under the sun – including sunlight itself - can spark an allergic reaction. In fact, here are four increasingly common allergens you may have never suspected before:
- Cockroaches! A new study by the Boston University School of Medicine reports that cockroaches are one of the most common allergens found in urban areas, like New York City. In fact, researchers believe half of all children exposed to microscopic cockroach feces or body parts will eventually develop asthma.
- Another newly discovered allergen: Your cell phone! Dermatologists are diagnosing more people with “mobile phone dermatitis,” which is an allergic reaction to the nickel used in electronic devices like iPods and cell phones. In most cases, you’ll have a reaction in areas where the nickel metal contacts your skin.
- A 3rd surprising allergen: Cold water! Doctors aren’t sure what causes some people to break out into hives when they drink cold water, or eat cold food. Some believe chemicals in the water may be interacting with allergens in your perfume, cologne or medication.
- Finally, a growing number of people are discovering a serious allergy to: Celery! Experts believe this is most likely a reaction to mugwort pollen – which is found in foods like celery, onions or chives.
Fortunately, most of these allergens are harmless and easy to treat, but they’re all a good reminder that anything can cause an allergic reaction. So if you’re baffled by an itchy new rash, or suddenly have difficulty breathing, see a doctor as soon as possible. Then, when he asks what might have caused the reaction, tell him about everything you’ve come in contact with – including the celery stalk you ate for lunch, and the groovy new tune you were dancing to on your iPod.