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.
Common allergens include:
- Animal proteins and animal dander
- 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
Stewart GA, Robinson C. The structure and function of allergens. In: Burks AW, Holgate ST, O'Hehir RE, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 26.