More than 50 million Americans (1 in 6) suffer from allergies, including food, drug, latex, insect, skin and eye allergies.

Allergies are the body’s reaction to a substance it finds harmful. Coming into contact with a substance that is normally harmless can trigger an immune system response and reaction. Reactions can affect your sinuses, skin, airways or digestive system, and reactions can range from mild to severe. Substances that cause these reactions are called allergens.

People can be allergic to a variety of substances; the most common are pollen and dust mites. Other airborne allergens include molds and animal dander. More severe reactions, such as from insect venom from a sting or ingesting food(s) a person is allergic to, can cause more severe reactions and may require the use of injectable epinephrine. Latex can cause a mild to severe reaction in some people depending on the type of exposure. Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, may change with the seasons because of pollen from plants. Because it’s possible to be allergic to more than one thing, symptoms may worsen at different times throughout the year, or may be constant.

Allergies cannot be cured, but symptoms are manageable. If symptoms last more than a week or two, you should make an appointment with an allergy specialist.