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Don’t Sneeze at These Uncommon Allergies

By Jeff Hayward

Medically Reviewed by Patty Weasler, RN

If you find yourself sneezing and sniffling or having some other chronic health problem that you (and your doctor) just can’t seem to figure out, you may be allergic to something. However, the allergy may not be a common one like hay fever or Latex.

These allergic reactions can be from your diet or your environment, but they can wreak havoc on your well-being until you pinpoint the problem. Here are nine possible allergy triggers to consider if your symptoms are driving you mad…

Red Meat

While the most common food allergies involve eggs, peanuts, wheat and shellfish, some people have a sensitivity to beef, pork and lamb. “These allergies are usually attributed to a sugar found in meat called alpha-galactose,” explains Healthline.

It notes if you’re allergic to one type of meat, chances are you’re allergic to another. Kids who have meat sensitivities often also have milk intolerance, it adds. Allergic symptoms from eating red meat (runny nose, rash, nausea) appear as late as 6-hours after consumption, according to the source.


The cause of your allergies may be right under your nose – your leather jacket or (more specifically) your shoes! EveryDay Health explains that some people develop a “poison ivy-type rash” on their feet from wearing leather shoes, due to chemicals used in the tanning process.

This type of allergy (known as contact dermatitis) can be pinpointed by doing a patch test, explains the source. It suggests wearing good socks if you insist on wearing your fancy leather shoes. You can clear up any associated rashes with antihistamines, it adds.


This one seems a bit outlandish, because we all know that water is essential to life. However, a number of sources mention the existence of a water allergy, and the BBC posted a story about a woman who lives with this strange affliction.

Drinking a glass of water for this woman “feels like a glass of stinging nettles,” explains the article. She gets burning pain just by dipping her toe in a swimming pool. Even her own sweat causes a bad rash, it adds. It’s called aquagenic urticaria, and it’s so rare that it affects only one in 230-million people (the article points out that means there’s about 32-people worldwide with this allergy).


You may think that friend is joking when they say they’re allergic to exercise, but for some people, this is actually a reality. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis or EIA, which causes an allergic reaction just from intense physical activity, explains

There are a host of symptoms that come with this such as hives, cramping and nausea, and continued exercise can lead to cardiovascular collapse (which can mean death). Activities from jogging to raking leaves can cause a reaction, according to the source. Those who have this rare allergy (that may be connected with eating certain foods before activity) are advised to carry emergency injectable epinephrine (such as EpiPen).


According to, undulations can cause complications for some. Vibration-induced urticaria can be triggered by a ride in a car or running a lawnmower, according to the source. “It is caused by the body mistaking harmless contact as an attack – with the immune system responding accordingly,” it explains.

Sufferers end up with rashes or welts within 5-minutes of the vibrations, and can persist for hours “in extreme cases”. The source notes the allergy can be treated with antihistamines, as well as corticosteroids and calamine lotion.

Cold Temperatures

The same source explains that some people not only hate colder weather, they’re actually allergic to it. Suffers of cold urticaria “break out into annoying itching, redness, and welts after exposure to chilly or frozen conditions,” explains the source.

That presents the obvious solution of trying to stay warmer, but that can be tough if you live in a region that sees extreme thermometer dips. Also, if you live in a warmer state, cool air conditioning can trigger a similar reaction, as can a dip in a cool swimming pool, explains the nurse practitioner website.

Hot Dogs

Take me out to the ball game… and then to an allergist? According to, these delicious summertime favorites can actually cause misery for some. “Hot dogs are highly processed foods with numerous additives. An allergic reaction after eating hot dogs could be due to any number of these ingredients,” it explains.

The most common contents of a hot dog that can cause allergies are nitrates and a yellow dye called tartrazine, it adds. Those with a hot dog allergy can experience hives, swelling and even asthma, according to the site.

Black Henna Tattoos

This is a temporary tattoo made from an ingredient found in the leaves of a henna shrub, according to While this technique has been used for “thousands of years” in North Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, allergic reactions are popping up more recently, notes the source.

Black henna in particular has an added chemical called p-phenylenediamine or PPD can be an especially bad offender, causing severe skin reactions in some people, it explains. The reactions can lead to scarring, so be careful what type of henna is being used if you decide to get a temporary tattoo from a street vendor (or it could be more permanent than you bargained for).


Surely, the fruit that “keeps the doctor away” when you eat it every day can’t be adversely impacting your health? Well, according to VeryWell, it turns out some people may actually get more harm than good from eating a red delicious.

Raw apple allergies are triggered within 5-minutes of consuming the otherwise harmless-looking fruit, notes the source. Most of the symptoms from this reaction are confined to the mouth, and in some cases it can cause throat swelling and difficulty breathing, it adds.


Patty is a freelance health writer and nurse (BSN, CCRN). She has worked as a critical care nurse for over 10 years and loves educating people about their health. When she's not working, Patty enjoys any outdoor activity that she can do with her husband and three kids.

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