We all probably know someone who is allergic to pollen or dust, but what about cold weather or even underwear? Indeed, various unusual allergies exist, and some of them can be dangerous. Allergist Tim Mainardi sat down with FoxNews.com to discuss some of these allergens, as well as their effects and how to treat them.
Cold weather: Dr. Mainardi said this allergy is fairly common. It's a type of physical urticaria, which is a fancy word for hives. Hives are caused by the release of histamines, which is why people generally take an antihistamine when they break out. Dr. Mainardi said hands are typically the body part that's most vulnerable to this allergen. "Holding onto cold drinks, you develop hives where the cold has touched them." To treat a cold-weather allergy, Mainardi recommended taking an antihistamine.
Exercise: An allergy to exercise can be dangerous and scary, Dr. Mainardi said. It usually affects people ages 15 to 45. During exercise, a person can feel warmth then break out in hives. The reaction can become systemic, and the person can then develop true anaphylaxis. The attack usually is associated with consumption of certain foods. Decades ago, eating shellfish and exercising shortly after commonly triggered the reaction, but now it's more common to see anaphylaxis with consumption of wheat. "Anybody who has this has to be very careful about any type of strenuous activity," Mainardi said. If you suffer from an allergy to exercise, see an allergist who can help prescribe medication and a treatment plan so you can continue to work out.
Underwear: An allergy to underwear is a contact dermatitis, or an itchy rash. People can be allergic to fabrics, dyes, chemicals and preservatives in clothes— like latex, which is commonly found in the waistbands of underwear. The best way to combat this allergy is to find organic replacements. For instance, latex-free clothes that use lycra are usually hypoallergenic. As far as the fabric itself, Dr. Mainardi said some companies make organic clothing and that "natural fibers like cotton are the best."
If you believe you have an allergy, consult a doctor before taking any treatment.