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Mold Allergy: An Overview

Have you ever entered a damp, musty room that has been closed for a while or has an earthy smell and instantly began sneezing? 

It may be due to a mold allergy!

Mold is a type of tiny fungi found indoors and outdoors. 

The most common places to find molds are on dead, decomposing plants, in damp areas indoors, in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, or attics.

Fungi release spores as a means of reproduction. 

When mold releases its spores into the air, it can trigger an allergy in sensitive people or those prone to allergies. 

Sometimes, disturbing a mold can release its spores into the air.

Since molds can be found practically anywhere and in most weather types, mold allergies can occur throughout the year. 

Due to this, many people experience aggravated allergies during the rainy months or early spring.

What Are The Causes of Mold Allergy?

Mold allergy is caused when one inhales airborne spores

The spores enter the airways and trigger an immune reaction. 

The body’s immune system cells produce certain chemicals to neutralize or kill these spores.

This results in allergic reactions.

Mold allergies are also more common in people who are allergic to other substances like dust, pollen, mites, and pet dander or have a family history of allergies. 

Molds are of different types, and being allergic to one type does not mean you will be allergic to all molds or fungi.

People in some occupations are more likely to develop a mold allergy. 

These include:

What Are The Symptoms of Mold Allergy?

The symptoms of mold allergy are similar to those of other allergies. 

You can experience symptoms of mold allergy indoors and outdoors. 

Some common symptoms include:

Your allergy symptoms may appear immediately or may be delayed.

How Long Does It Take For Mold Allergy Reactions To Subside?

Like most other allergies, the duration in which mold allergy subsides depends upon your sensitivity to molds. 

If you are not sensitive to mold, an allergy might not be long-lasting. 

Moving away from a mold-ridden area can prevent aggravation of symptoms. 

Medications prescribed by your doctor can also help alleviate symptoms.

Mold Allergy and Asthma

Mold allergy can trigger an asthma attack. 

Though a high concentration of fungal spores almost always causes asthma in susceptible individuals, studies are still underway to prove the same. 

It is important to note that asthma is usually triggered or aggravated in people who have a history of asthma.

Genetics of Mold Allergy

Genes can be a factor in susceptibility to mold toxicity leading to serious health challenges. 

Those who carry specific changes in certain genes associated with immune responses are at increased risk for mold allergy.

The ADAD1 Gene

Adenosine deaminase domain-containing protein 1 or ADAD1 gene is located on chromosome 4 and is associated with celiac disease, eczema, allergic rhinitis, and asthma.

rs17388568 is a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the ADAD1 gene. 

People with the A allele of this SNP are at an increased risk of developing allergies to different substances like pollen, dust, cats, mite, etc.

The IL2 Gene

Interleukin 2 or IL2 gene gives instructions to produce a protein that promotes the growth and proliferation of T and B lymphocytes.

rs2069772 is an SNP in the IL2 gene. 

People with the C allele of this SNP have a greater risk of developing mold allergy than those with the normal T allele.

The ITGB3 Gene

Integrin subunit beta 3 or ITGB3 gene gives instructions for producing integrins, a type of protein that regulates cell growth proliferation and signaling. 

These proteins are also critical for processes related to inflammation and infection.

rs2056131 is an SNP in the ITGB3 gene. 

According to a study, people with the A allele had a lesser risk of developing mold-induced allergy than those with the G allele.

Risk Factors for Mold Allergy

Several factors can increase your risk of developing or aggravating mold allergy. These include:

Complications Caused Due to Mold Allergy

Allergies can make one miserable. 

However, sometimes mold allergies can be severe. 

Some common complications that can occur if mold allergy is not treated in time include:

Diagnosis of Mold Allergy

If you experience frequent bouts of allergic symptoms, consult your doctor.

Your doctor may refer you to an allergist or an immunologist who specializes in determining the cause of your allergy symptoms.

After reviewing your medical and symptomatic history, the allergist will recommend blood and skin prick tests. 

These tests are routinely used to diagnose mold allergy.

What Are The Different Types of Mold Allergy Tests?

A blood test for mold allergy includes an IgE test that verifies your allergic symptoms.

Skin prick tests are extremely accurate and give results in just a few minutes. 

During this test, the allergist will use different types of mold or prick your skin to elicit a skin reaction. 

They will determine a treatment plan for you based on the results of this test.

It may also be helpful to keep a diary of your symptoms and monitor what substances are triggering an allergic reaction.

Managing and Preventing Mold Allergy

If you suspect you are allergic to mold, the best way to prevent mold allergy is to prevent or reduce exposure. 

Here are some ways to reduce your and your family’s exposure to mold:

Is There A Treatment for Mold Allergy?

After evaluating and diagnosing your mold allergy, your doctor will most likely recommend antihistamines and decongestants to help control your symptoms. 

You will be advised to wear a mask to avoid the aggravation of your symptoms or if you need to go back to an area with a higher risk of mold exposure. 

If you are expecting mold exposure during your work or profession, taking your allergy medication in advance may help. 

If you have been to an indoor or outdoor area with greater exposure to mold, it may help to rinse your nose with saline solution.


  1. Allergy to mold, a type of fungi found both indoors and outdoors is prevalent among all age groups.
  2. In certain people, the immune system overreacts to spores released from molds, resulting in severe allergic reactions.
  3. Mold allergies are common throughout the year as molds are found in all weather conditions.
  4. Being allergic to one type of mold doesn’t mean that you’ll be allergic to the other types.
  5. People carrying certain changes in the genes that regulate immune responses are at an increased risk for many allergies, including mold allergy.
  6. IgE test and skin prick test are very effective when it comes to diagnosing a mold allergy.
  7. Using HEPA filters, dehumidifiers, and ensuring good airflow in the house can help prevent mold allergies.
  8. Antihistamines and decongestants are the most recommended treatment options by the doctors for alleviating symptoms of mold allergy.


More on Genetics and Allergies

Get Insights On Common Allergies From Your 23andMe, AncestryDNA Raw Data!

Peach Allergy: An Overview

Peaches are stone fruits available in different varieties with white, yellow, or red flesh. 

Packed with antioxidants like vitamins C, peaches are a nutritious fruit to include in your diet unless you are allergic to them.

Peach allergy is common and may develop in people either as a true allergy to the fruit or birch-pollen allergy.

Many people who are allergic to birch pollen may develop allergic symptoms on eating peaches due to the similarity in the protein found in both.

True peach allergy arises from the Pru p 3 protein that cross-reacts with birch tree pollen.

When you develop an allergy to two or more unrelated foods because your immune system identifies them as biologically or structurally similar substances, it is called cross-reactivity.  

If you are prone to an allergic reaction to peaches or other related fruits and vegetables, you may have oral allergy syndrome (OAS) or pollen food allergy symptoms (PFAS).

This condition is common in around 25% of children with allergic rhinitis.

If I Am Allergic To Peach, Can I Be Allergic To Other Stone Fruits?

Stone fruits have a hard seed or pit in the center, surrounded by the juicy or fleshy part of the fruit. These fruits are also called drupes and include:

An allergic reaction to stone foods occurs when your body’s immune system identifies the proteins or other components in the fruits as harmful substances and launches an attack. 

During this immune response, the histamine released is responsible for allergy symptoms.

If you are allergic to peach, the chances are that you may be allergic to all members of the Rosaceae family or the stone fruits.

Is it Safe To Consume Cooked Peach?

Peaches contain different proteins, each of which can trigger allergic reactions of varying degrees of severity.

Some people are allergic to raw peaches but can eat the fruit when cooked at high temperatures as heating breaks down the allergy-causing proteins.

If you are allergic to the proteins present in the peach skin, peeling will allow you to eat the fruit without developing an allergy.

Understanding what part of the peach triggers an allergic reaction can help you prevent an allergic reaction.

Undergoing a specific IgE test can help you know more about your peach allergy.

What Are The Symptoms of Peach Allergy?

Symptoms of peach allergy are similar to allergies to other foods. You may experience:

If you have a severe allergic reaction to peaches, you may develop anaphylaxis, characterized by a rapid drop in blood pressure, constriction of your airways that makes it difficult to breathe, and loss of consciousness. 

Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention.

Genetics of Peach Allergy – The HLA Family

Why we develop allergies to some foods is unknown. 

However, genetics is said to play a role in developing a peach allergy.

The Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) system of genes on chromosome 6 gives instructions to produce proteins that regulate the immune system.

There are three classes of HLA genes, namely HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, and HLA-DP.

rs2858880 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the HLA-DR/DQ gene region. 

According to a genome-wide association study (GWAS), people having the A allele of this SNP are at a greater risk of developing peach allergy than those with the T allele.

rs1057149 is also an SNP in the HLA-DRB1 gene region.

People with the T allele of this SNP are at a greater risk of peach allergy than those having the G allele.

SNPRisk AlleleImplication
rs2858880AIncreased risk for peach allergy
rs1057149 TIncreased risk for peach allergy

How Do You Manage Peach Allergy?

If you have been diagnosed with a peach allergy, your doctor will devise a plan to help you manage your symptoms better and prevent a flare-up. 

This includes:

If you are allergic to peaches, your doctor may recommend one of the following symptom relief options:

Is There A Treatment for Peach Allergy?

As with most allergies, there is no cure for food allergies. 

The treatment for a peach allergy depends on the presenting signs and symptoms. 

The best way to prevent peach allergy is to avoid consuming peaches in any form or foods that may contain peaches or other stone fruits.


  1. Allergy to peaches is more common than we think and occurs due to a protein present in the fruit.
  2. People who are allergic to peaches may also be allergic to other stone fruits.
  3. Some people may be allergic to raw peaches but will not develop any symptoms or reactions when the fruit is cooked or peeled.
  4. Symptoms of a peach allergy are similar to any other food allergy, including itchiness, rash, dizziness, nasal congestion, and wheezing, among others.
  5. Genes of the HLA family that play a role in immune response play a role in the development of peach allergy.
  6. Antihistamines, bronchodilators, and epinephrine injectors are commonly used for symptomatic relief in people with peach allergies.
  7. The best way to prevent peach allergy is to avoid consuming the fruit or its cousins.


More on Genetics and Allergies

Cat Allergy: An Overview

Cat allergy is a condition that causes allergic symptoms on exposure to cats. 

This is a very common problem affecting people all over the world. 

About 10-20% of the American population could be allergic to cats and dogs. 

Cat allergies seem to be twice more common than dog allergies in the American population. 

What Causes Cat Allergy?

The immune system is designed to fight harmful substances that come in contact with the body. 

In some cases, the immune system may overreact to harmless external substances, triggering allergic reactions.

In the case of cat allergies, it is substances produced in cats' bodies like saliva, dander (skin flakes), and urine that trigger allergies.

These bodily substances contain proteins that the human immune system assumes are dangerous and triggers allergic reactions. 

These proteins are called cat allergens.

According to the World Health Organization, there are eight cat allergens identified

The most important of these allergens is Fel d 1. 

This is a secretoglobin protein found in the skin and saliva of cats. 

According to experts, this protein is airborne and can remain in the atmosphere even after the cat has left the room.

Two other common allergens are Fel d 4 and Fel d 7. 

Both these are lipocalin proteins found in cat saliva.

What Are The Symptoms of Cat Allergy?

Here are some of the common symptoms of cat allergy.

Genetics of Cat Allergy

IL1 Gene and Cat Allergy

The IL1 gene produces a protein called interleukin-1 alpha. 

These proteins are found in the immune system and play a role in inflammation and protection from harmful invaders. 

The Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) rs10189629 is located within the IL18R1–IL1RL2 gene region. 

The A allele of this SNP is considered beneficial/protective against developing cat allergies.

ALesser chances of developing cat allergies on exposure to cats
CNormal chances of developing cat allergies on exposure to cats

Risk Factors For Cat Allergy


According to a 2020 study, the males are at an increased risk of producing immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in response to normal environmental and airborne allergens compared to the females. 

This means that sensitization risk is higher in men than in women.

Sensitization is the process of becoming hypersensitive to a stimulus. 

In this case, it is the development of allergic symptoms on exposure to cats.

Childhood Exposure

A 2002 study tried to understand the relationship between childhood exposure to cats or dogs and the risk of allergic sensitization. 

According to this study, children exposed to two or more cats or dogs within the first year of their life may have a reduced risk of allergy sensitization to multiple allergens produced by these pets. 

Age Of Becoming A Pet Owner

A 2012 study analyzed the effects of getting a cat for the first time in adults. 

This study analyzed 4468 adults who either didn’t own a cat or had bought home a cat for the first time as adults. 

According to the study, in people who haven’t been exposed to cats much in their childhood, getting a cat home for the first time in adulthood may double the risk of developing cat sensitization. 

Diagnosing Cat Allergy (Prick test, Intradermal test, Bood test - IgE)

There are different ways of diagnosing cat allergies. 

In fact, since about 96% of the patients react to only the major cat allergen - the Fel d 1, diagnosing cat allergies is straightforward when compared to diagnosing dog allergies.

Below are ways to diagnose cat allergies.

Allergy Prick Test

An allergy prick test is done by pricking a small portion of the skin using a needle and placing a small amount of allergen on that area. 

If you are allergic to cats, the area starts showing symptoms like redness, swelling, and itching.

Intradermal Test

The intradermal test is also similar to a prick test. 

However, here, the allergens are deposited under the skin. 

This is slightly more sensitive than a prick test to diagnose cat allergy. 

Bood Test - IgE

The patient’s blood is drawn and sent to the lab for testing. 

People whose bodies react to cat allergens develop immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, which can be detected in the blood. 

This is safer for those worried about developing extreme skin sensitivities from the first two methods. 

Treating Cat Allergy

However, these should not be used frequently and without consulting your doctor. 

Prescription antihistamines and corticosteroid sprays can both be given in combination to deal with chronic allergy symptoms.

Allergy shots contain very small amounts of the allergens and slowly help desensitize the immune system to prevent allergy triggers.

Managing/Living With Cat Allergy

Avoid Exposure To Cats

The easiest way to prevent an allergic trigger is to avoid exposure. 

If you don’t have cats yet, do not bring them home. 

Avoid visiting homes that have cats. 

If you must, wear protective masks and avoid touching the pets. 

Avoid Using Upholstery 

Upholstery is padded textiles that cover furniture to make them soft and comfortable. 

These trap cat allergens very easily, and when you sit on or use such upholstery in houses with cats, your risk of exposure increases.

Avoid Using Carpets And Rugs

Low-lying carpets and rugs also trap cat allergens and retain them. 

If you own cats, avoid using carpets and rugs. 

If you must, then make sure these are cleaned regularly to bring down exposure.

Restrict Pet Movement

You could try and restrict your cat’s movement to specific rooms. 

This way, you will have safer spaces to be in during an allergic trigger. 

If you are allergic to cats, avoid having them in your bedroom. 

Use HEPA Filters

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles in the atmosphere. 

In families with both cats and cat allergic individuals, using these filters may help reduce the frequency of allergic triggers. 

Use Gloves And Masks While Petting Cats

If you love cats but are allergic to them, wear masks and protective gloves while petting them. 

Also, make sure you change your clothes once you are done petting. 

Do avoid bringing the cat close to the face while playing with them. 

Groom Your Cats Regularly

Cats have to be groomed regularly to prevent the risk of allergic exposure. 

Grooming includes:


More on Genetics and Allergies

What Is Nevirapine?

Nevirapine (Viracept) is a medication used to treat HIV infection.

It is a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). 

Nevirapine interferes with the virus's ability to create new HIV copies in the body. 

Nevirapine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat HIV-1 infection in adults.

Nevirapine is available as a tablet, capsule, or intravenous formulation. 

What Is Nevirapine Used For?

Nevirapine is a medication used to treat viral infections, including the common cold and the flu.

Using this drug lowers the risk of HIV complications like cancer. 

Nevirapine is also used to treat other conditions caused by viruses, such as bronchitis and herpes.

How Does Nevirapine Work?

Nevirapine is an antiretroviral medication that inhibits the replication of HIV. 

It works by blocking the enzyme (reverse transcriptase) that HIV uses to copy its genetic material. 

This slows the virus down and may stop it from multiplying. 

Nevirapine is often the first-line treatment for HIV infection.

How Much Nevirapine Can Be Given To An Infant?

Two doses of nevirapine (NVP) at birth are recommended to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in many developing countries. 

The mother should take one dose at the start of labor and one dose to the infant between 48 and 72 hours after delivery.

Side Effects Of Nevirapine

The most common side effects of nevirapine include 

It has many side effects, some of which are serious. Nevirapine can cause 

Nevirapine: Interactions With Other Drugs

Nevirapine is mostly metabolized in the liver by the CYP3A and CYP2B6 isoenzymes. 

It is an inducer of these isoenzymes. 

Due to this, other drugs metabolized by these enzyme systems may have lower than usual plasma levels when coadministered with nevirapine.

Some drugs that may interact with nevirapine include orlistat (used to aid weight loss), rifabutin (antibiotic), and warfarin (blood thinner).

Other medications may impact the elimination of nevirapine from your body, which may affect how nevirapine works. 

Examples include rifamycins (such as rifampin) and St. John's wort, among others.

This effect is observed the other way around as well.

Nevirapine affects the elimination of other classes of drugs like antiarrhythmics, antiepileptics, and antibiotics.

Can You Be Allergic To Nevirapine?

A small but increasing number of people are allergic to nevirapine, a drug used to treat HIV. 

Around 5% of the general population develop severe allergic reactions to the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) nevirapine.

Approximately 17 to 32% of patients with nevirapine will develop a skin rash, and 13% of these are mild rashes. 

Systemic symptoms may also occur.

Drug Rash with Eosinophilia and Systemic Syndrome (DRESS) is well documented with nevirapine.

Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes) has been recorded in 0.37% of drug users. 

Racial differences were noted; for example, thorn rash was 2.8 times more common in Thai adults than white adults.

Some symptoms of nevirapine allergy are:

Genetics Of Nevirapine Allergy

The genetics of nevirapine allergy is still not fully understood, but it appears that some people are more likely to develop an allergic reaction to the drug than others.

Recent research suggests that individuals with a genetic predisposition can be negatively affected by nevirapine. 

The findings reveal that people who carry particular variations in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system are more likely to experience a hypersensitive reaction.

The HLA-C Gene and Nevirapine Allergy

HLA-C is a gene that plays an important role in the immune system. 

HLA-C is found on the surface of cells in the body and helps identify which cells are supposed to be attacked by the immune system. 

This gene can also help determine how strongly the immune system will react to something. 

While it was once thought that HLA-C only played a minor role in the immune system, recent studies have shown that this gene is quite important.


rs9461684 is a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) or a change near the HLA-C gene region. 

Patients with the TT genotype treated for HIV with nevirapine are at a higher risk of developing a rash from the antiretroviral treatment compared to patients with the CC genotype.

CDecreased risk for nevirapine-induced skin rash
TIncreased risk for nevirapine-induced skin rash


rs5010528 is an SNP in the HLA-C gene. 

An association between rs5010528 SNP and SJS (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome)/TEN (Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis) susceptibility has been described in sub-Saharan populations.

A multivariate genetic analysis confirmed that the G allele of rs5010528 was assciated with a higher risk for SJS/TEN in a Mozambique HIV population treated with nevirapine.

ANormal risk for nevirapine-induced skin rash
GIncreased risk for nevirapine-induced skin rash

Recommendations To Use Nevirapine

The Suitable Dose

Nevirapine is available in the following forms and strengths: 

Take nevirapine only as indicated by your health care provider. 

It is not advisable to take more than one dose of nevirapine and change your dose or stop taking it without consulting your doctor.

Dealing with Skin Rash

The risk of developing a serious skin rash is minimized by taking a single dose of immediate-release nevirapine only once per day during the first 14 days of treatment. 

If you have not had any serious reactions to nevirapine during the first 14 days, follow your health care provider's instructions for taking immediate-release nevirapine tablets twice a day or switching to extended-release nevirapine.

During the 14-day lead-in period of taking the drug, call the doctor's office right away if you develop a skin rash. 

Don't double your medication's dose or switch to taking the medication in extended-release if you have an allergic reaction.

Medication Usage

Nevirapine can be taken with or without food.

The extended-release tablets should not be chewed, cut, or divided. 

Nevirapine oral suspension is a liquid to be shaken before each use. 

Use a dosing syringe or a dosing cup to measure the correct amount.

Medical History

This drug should not be used if you have liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis), kidney dialysis, or lactose or galactose intolerance.

Genetic Test

An allergy test for nevirapine can help identify your risk of drug induced-skin rash and SJS/TEN.

According to your test results, your doctor may need to modify the dosage or prescribe an alternative drug.

Analyze Your Genetic Response to Nevirapine


  1. Nevirapine is an antiretrovial drug used to treat HIV infection. It interferes with the virus’s ability to replicate and grow by blocking the reverse transcriptase enzyme.
  2. If a pregnant mother has HIV, an appropriate dosgae can be administered to the newborn within 72 hours of birth.
  3. Some side effects of nevirapine are weight loss, skin rash, liver problems, abdominal pain, and chest pain while coughing.
  4. Nevirapine interacts with other substrates for CYP3A and CYP2D6 and other drugs like orlistat and warfarin. This may cause unwanted side effects or reduce the efficacy of one of the drug involved in the interaction. 
  5. About 5% of the population may be allergic to nevirapine and may exhibit mild to moderate skin rash, pain, tingling, numbness of hands, arms, legs, or feet, and unusual fatigue.
  6. Studies suggest that people with certain changes in the HLA gene family are more likely to experience a hypersensitive reaction to nevirapine.
  7. It is important to disclose your medical and medication history and noteable side effects of the drug to your medical practitioner.
  8. A genetic test can help reveal your risk for hypersensitivity yo nevirapine. This can help your doctor suggest an optimal antiretroviral drug at an optimal dose suited for you.


A Sneak Peek Into The Gene Allergy Report

Get Insights On Common Allergies From Your 23andMe, AncestryDNA Raw Data! 

Dog Allergy: An Overview

Dogs are the sweetest pets and man’s most loyal companions. But what if you are allergic to your little furry friend? 

Pet allergies are common worldwide, and most people are allergic to cats and dogs.

Dog allergy may take a while to be diagnosed but is extremely easy to manage and prevent.

What Are The Types of Dog Allergens?

While most people presume dog hair or fur is responsible for triggering an allergic reaction, dog allergens are found in:

One can develop an allergy to dogs of any breed, regardless of the hair or fur on them. 

What Causes Dog Allergy?

Dogs secrete proteins found in their dead skin cells, saliva, or urine. 

When people with sensitive immune systems come in contact with dog dander, their immune system reacts abnormally and triggers an allergic reaction.

You may be allergic to two dogs of the same breed due to the difference in their secretions or droppings. 

The exact cause of dog allergy is unknown, but genetics and the immune system's sensitivity are said to play a role.

What Are The Symptoms of Dog Allergy?

In people with low sensitivity to dog allergens, symptoms may not appear for several days after exposure. 

Symptoms of dog allergy can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Common symptoms include:

Contrary to popular belief, a study published in the Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical immunology states that exposing newborn babies to dogs does not increase their risk of developing an allergy.

Genetics of Dog Allergy

Though still under study, genetics may play an essential role in developing dog allergies.

The Human Leucocyte Antigen or HLA gene system present on chromosome 6 provides instructions to produce proteins that regulate the body’s immune system.

Three classes of HLA gene exist– HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, and HLA-DP.

rs7775228 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the HLA-DQ region.

According to a genome-wide association study (GWAS), people with the C allele are more sensitive to dog allergens than those with the T allele.

Can You Be Allergic To Dogs But Not Cats?

Since allergy to pets is due to the proteins in their droppings or secretions, a person who is allergic to dogs may or may not be allergic to cats.

This is because though allergy to cats and dogs is due to their dander, the composition of proteins in them varies.

Testing and Diagnosis of Dog Allergy

If you own a pet and show frequent signs and symptoms of allergy, your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination, take a medical history and recommend a skin-prick test (a type of allergy test).

During this test, your doctor or allergist will put a small sample of dog protein on your skin and allow the proteins to enter your skin.

If you are allergic to your dog, you will show signs or symptoms of the allergy within 15 to 30 minutes.

Though an allergy test is helpful, it is not always conclusive.

Treatment and Management of Dog Allergy

The best way to manage dog allergies is to avoid contact with them by keeping them out of your home or avoiding visiting homes and indoor places with dogs.

If you have to visit a friend or family member with a pet dog, you can speak to your doctor about medications to prevent allergy symptoms.

Some medications that can help you manage your symptoms include:

Some people may find a nasal lavage (nasal saline rinse) effective in clearing allergens in their nasal passages. 

You can also use OTC nasal sprays and lavage kits to help you manage allergy symptoms.

Some lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce dog allergens around your home are:

Can You Build Up Immunity To Dog Allergy?

People who live in households with pets may be allergic to their dogs. 

Most dog allergies are mild, and people can continue coexisting with their dogs under the same roof.

Though there is no conclusive proof, allergy shots can help build immunity to dog allergies. 

These shots are a form of immunotherapy wherein increasing doses of allergy triggers are administered to the individual to build their tolerance level over time.

Some studies also state that infantile exposure to dogs substantially reduces the risk of allergy and asthma in childhood. 

This has been attributed to a more diverse community of microbes at home.

How To Live With Your Dog Even If You Have Dog Allergy?

You can establish dog-free zones in your home, i.e., specific rooms where dogs are not allowed. 

Always wash your hands after playing with your dog and only handle their litter with gloved hands.


  1.  Pet allergy is widespread and affects 10% to 20% of the population.
  2. Allergy to dogs is usually half as common to cats but more severe.
  3. Dog allergy results from exposure to specific proteins found in their dander and fluids like saliva, blood, and urine.
  4. Dog allergy symptoms are similar to other allergies and include itching, skin rash, coughing, shortness of breath, and eczema.
  5. Genes of the HLA-DQ region of the HLA family play a role in immune response and dog allergy development.
  6. Since the proteins secreted by dogs and cats is different, you can be allergic to dogs but may or may not be allergic to cats.
  7. A skin prick test can confirm if you are allergic to dogs.
  8. Antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, decongestants, allergy shots, and leukotriene modifiers may be used to manage symptoms of dog allergy.
  9. Lifestyle changes like bathing your dog more often and maintaining dog-free zones at home can help reduce allergies.
  10. Allergy shots may be effective in building immunity to prevent dog allergies.


More on Genetics and Allergies

Shrimp Allergy: An Overview

Shrimps belong to a group of shellfish called crustaceans. 

Shrimp allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children and adults.

Shrimp allergy develops when the immune system recognizes certain proteins in shrimps as harmful substances and reacts to them. 

This reaction triggers the symptoms of shrimp allergy.

The body’s immune reaction is triggered when the IgE antibodies bind to the proteins in shellfish protein. 

There are different proteins (allergens) in shrimp that can cause an allergy.

It is also important to note that an allergy to shellfish like shrimp is confused with an allergy to components like iodine or microbes present in these animals. 

Many people who are intolerant to shrimp can confuse this condition with an allergy to the food.

Symptoms of Shrimp Allergy

Symptoms of shrimp allergy vary from mild to severe and can affect different parts of the body, including the skin, respiratory system, digestive system, and heart.

Common symptoms of shrimp allergy are:

Shrimp consumption can lead to a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction called anaphylaxis in some people.

According to a study, in adults with shrimp allergy, the rate of anaphylaxis to shrimp was 42%.

Can You Develop Allergies To Shrimp Later In Life?

While most people discover their food allergies in their childhood, you can develop an allergy to shrimp as you get older.

Studies estimate that around 60% of people who develop this food allergy get their first reaction as adults. 

This may be because not many children eat shellfish.

Do All Types of Shellfish Cause The Same Reaction?

Shrimp is one of the many shellfish varieties consumed by us. 

However, just because you are allergic to shrimp does not mean you will be allergic to all types of shellfish and fish.

It is, however, essential to note that people who may be allergic to crustaceans like shrimp may be allergic to mollusks too. 

Speak to your healthcare provider to understand more about your shrimp allergy.

How Common is Shrimp Allergy?

Shrimp allergy is a relatively common food allergy and affects around 2% of the American population.

Genetics of Shrimp Allergy - The HLA Gene Family

The exact reason why some people are allergic to shrimp is unknown. However, genetics may have a role to play in the development of shrimp allergy.

The human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) system is a complex set of genes present on chromosome 6. 

These genes give instructions to produce proteins to regulate the immune system.

The HLA system of genes has three classes – HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, and HLA-DP.

rs74995702 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the HLA-DR/DQ gene region. 

According to a genome-wide association study, people with the G allele of this SNP are at a greater risk of developing shrimp allergy than those with the A allele.

Risk Factors for Shrimp Allergy

Those with a family history of any allergies are at a higher risk for shrimp allergy.

Among adults, this allergy is more common in women and among children, in boys.

People prone to shrimp allergy who come in close contact with shrimp during cooking, steaming, or frying can develop an allergic reaction.

Fishermen, cooks, shell grinders, workers who process shellfish, and even restaurant staff can develop shrimp allergies due to repeated exposure to it.

Shrimp Allergy: Treatment and Prevention 


  1. Shrimp allergy, affecting ~2% of the US adult population is a common food allergy in adults and children.
  2. Allergic reactions to shrimp manifest as hives, itching, coughing and wheezing, and eczema.
  3. Those who are allergic to shrimp may have allergies to other shellfish as well.
  4. The HLA gene family that is involved in regulating immune responses plays a role in the risk for shrimp allergy.
  5. Epinephrine injections, antihistamines, and corticosteroids are common treatment options for shrimp allergy.
  6. Checking food labels, informing about your allergy at restaurants, and avoiding certain foods can help prevent allergic reactions. 


More on Genetics and Food Allergies

Get Insights On Common Allergies From Your 23andMe, AncestryDNA Raw Data!

What are histamines?

Does a tasty plate of Eggs Benedict send you into a sneeze spiral? Do you often find yourself with red and itchy skin? Well, it looks like you are not alone! According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million Americans experience some type of allergy every year. Hay fever, food allergy, skin allergy are very common in the United States.

People living with allergies are no strangers to 'antihistamines.' What are antihistamines, and how do they help manage your allergies? To understand that, let's first look at histamine. Histamine is generally our body's ally.

A few of the many functions it performs are contraction of smooth muscles, acid secretion in the stomach, stimulation of the brain to keep it active, and lowering our blood pressure.

Histamines and allergies

Histamine is released by the immune cells when you come in contact with possible allergens. This generally protects your body from allergic reactions.  

Sometimes, the immune cells release histamine in response to components in the environment or food that are harmless. In other words, the immune system mistakes a non-allergen for an allergen and mounts an allergic reaction.

This overreaction leads to watery eyes, nasal congestion, swelling, itching, vomiting, or diarrhea. In severe cases, your airways may swell, and enough oxygen cannot be supplied to your organs. It can at times even be fatal when it leads to an anaphylactic shock. This needs to be treated with an 'EpiPen' immediately. EpiPen is basically an injection of epinephrine to treat your severe allergic reaction instantly.

What is histamine intolerance?

Antihistamines are used to treat mild to severe allergy symptoms. They act by blocking the effect of histamine, hence the name ANTIhistamines.

So, why do some people react so badly to the build-up of histamine?

This is all thanks to a condition called HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE. This condition either causes a rapid build-up of histamine in the body and/or results in an inability to break down histamine effectively.

An enzyme called diamine oxidase, DAO for short, is responsible for breaking down histamine. Lower levels of this enzyme result in histamine intolerance. A few factors that influence the DAO enzyme levels include conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, medications that block DAO action, and certain histamine-rich foods that cause DAO dysfunction.

AOC1, or Amine Oxidase Copper Containing 1, is a major genetic contributor to histamine intolerance. This gene is responsible for the production of the DAO enzyme.  If you carry a ‘faulty’ version of the AOC1 gene, then less DAO is produced, leaving you highly prone to allergic reactions. 

what is histamine intolerance

Histamine intolerance can be treated by following a low histamine diet and taking DAO supplements. 

Histamine intolerance genetic test

A simple genetic test can help identify your risk for histamine intolerance.

It involves analyzing what version or variant of the AOC1 gene you carry. 

Most genetic ancestry tests provide your DNA information in the form of a text file called the raw data.  This typically looks like a bunch of numbers and letters that can be decoded to obtain useful health information. This is where Xcode Life comes into play.

All you have to do is upload this file and order any of the 13 in-depth health reports. The AOC1 gene for histamine intolerance is analyzed as a part of the Gene Allergy report.  It also includes various seasonal and environmental allergies. 


Xcode Life’s Gene Allergy report profiles genes associated with various food, seasonal, environmental, animal, and insect allergies. This report will help you understand your body better and safeguard yourself from allergens.

Are Allergies Genetic?

Allergies provided an alarm to our ancestors that kept them away from toxic chemicals, either from venomous animals or plants. However, with modernization and the increased use of synthetic chemicals, we seemed to be trapped around various allergens. Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergy. Allergies have a genetic component to them. Many of the genes involved in allergic reactions have been associated with immune system regulation. 

Gene Allergy Report

The Gene Allergy Report aims to help you understand your body better and provide information that you can use to protect yourself from allergies and lead a healthier life. 

The Summary Table in the report indicates your outcome for each trait.

Xcode Life Gene Allergy report

The report contains genetic information about 15 allergies, including cockroach allergy, dust mites allergy, egg allergy, grass allergy, and histamine intolerance. Along with your outcome, the details of the genes analyzed for each allergy are also provided. The report comes with personalized recommendations based on your results. These recommendations include tips to avoid and manage your allergies. They are to be followed only after consulting a trained medical professional. You can click on “Learn More” for more information on each trait.

Xcode Life Gene Allergy report trait sections

What are the traits covered in this report?

The report analyzes your genetic risk for various food, environmental, seasonal, and insect allergies. For a comprehensive list of the traits covered, click here. 

For a sample allergy report/ preview of the report, click here.

What Is A Photic Sneeze?

Sneezing is a common reaction that forces air through the nose and mouth. When the tissues of the nasal cavity are irritated, sneezing is an act that helps clear the cavity. This is a reaction that cannot be controlled and results in an explosive sound too.

Some people sneeze when they are suddenly exposed to a light source.

Reflexive sneezing that is induced by sunlight or other bright lights is called photic sneeze reflex.

Experts say that the photic sneeze reflex causes sneezing when people experience variations in the intensity of light.

Photic sneeze reflex is also called photosneezia or Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst (ACHOO) syndrome.

About 10-35% of people in the world suffer from photic sneeze reflex.

White women seem to be at more risk for developing photic sneeze reflex. A study amongst 367 patients reported that 94.3% of photic sneezers were Caucasian (white) individuals and 67% of them were women. This study also mentioned that 90.7% of these individuals had three or lesser sneezes on sudden exposure to light. Only 12.3% of people had continuous reactions on exposure to light.

Symptoms of Photic Sneeze

The primary symptom of photic sneeze is sneezing when exposed to light. Most individuals don’t have extended reactions to light. They only react when they suddenly move from a dark space to a lit space. The number of sneezes ranges from 1-10.

How Does Genetics‌ Influence Photic Sneeze? ‌

ZEB2 Gene

The ZEB2 gene helps make a protein that plays a role in forming the nerve cells before birth. This protein is also important in making vital parts of the body like the kidneys and skeletal muscles.

The rs10427255 SNP is located near the ZEB2 gene. The minor C allele is the risk allele of this SNP and is associated with an increased risk for developing photic sneeze reflex.

Non-Genetic‌ ‌Influence‌s on Photic Sneeze

Deviated nasal septum - The nasal septum is the thin wall that gives structure to your nose. Some people’s nasal wall gets displaced or moves from the original place because of certain injuries. The risk for developing photic sneeze is high in people with a deviated nasal septum.

Use of tobacco - A certain study relates the use of tobacco with light-induced episodes of sneezing.

Optic nerve response - Some scientists believe that when the optic nerve is exposed to sudden light sources, it creates similar reactions in the body, like when the nose is irritated. This can cause episodes of sneezing.

Eye injections - In some cases, people end up having photic sneezing when they are given eye injections. These injections trigger the trigeminal nerve. This is one of the cranial nerves that give sensations to the various parts of the face. Triggering the nerve causes sneezing.

Prominent corneal nerves - According to a small study conducted, 67% of people with some degree of prominent corneal nerves experienced photic sneezing.

The Pesky Effects Of Photic Sneeze

Recommendations‌ ‌To‌ Manage Photic Sneeze

Cover your eyes - When you are stepping out in the sun, wear sunglasses to prevent direct exposure to sunlight. This is a very easy trick to prevent the flaring up of sneezes. You can also wear hats and scarves to bring down the intensity of sunlight.

Philtral Pressure Technique (PPT) - When you apply pressure to the sub-philtral region, it is said to help stop sneezing. The philtrum is the region between the nose and the upper lips. When you press this region gently with the index finger, this brings down the urge to sneeze.
When you press the philtrum region, this stimulates the mechanoreceptors. These receptors send signals to the brain when stimulated by an external medium (touch, in this case). These mechanoreceptor signals override the signals caused by trigeminal nerve stimulation and hence prevent sneezing.

Antihistamine sprays and drugs - Even though photic sneeze is not an allergic reaction, it seems to get better with antihistamine sprays and drugs.

Summary‌ ‌ ‌

  1. Photic sneeze reflex is a condition that causes people to sneeze when they are exposed to sudden light sources. Sunlight, flashlights, and other sources of lights that fall on a person suddenly can cause photic sneezing reflex. This reflex results in sneezing when the person is exposed to varying intensities of light.
  2. Photic sneeze reflex is also called Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst (ACHOO) syndrome or photosneezia.
  3. A majority of people (about 90%) experience 1-10 sneezes when they come in contact with sudden light. They become alright after that. For some people, the reflex reaction can be prolonged and continuous.
  4. The C allele of the rs10427255 SNP located near the ZEB2 gene increases a person’s risk for developing photic sneeze.
  5. Some experts mention that triggers to the optic nerve results in an ‘allergy-like’ reaction in the body, causing sneezing.
  6. Protecting the eyes with sunglasses while stepping out and using antihistamine sprays and drugs can help manage photic sneeze reflex.

References‌ ‌

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