There are days where you actually wish you were allergic to things in order not to come into contact with them or have to face them.  There are also days where being allergic to something or someone may be the logical explanation.

As mindboggling as allergies are, it is quite baffling how people can be allergic to a number of things ranging from the ordinary everyday items to the sublime and a mixture of things taken for granted. 

Allergies are everywhere, and the human body seems increasingly unable to survive in this crazy world.  Nowadays people are forbidden to take peanuts into places of work or discouraged allowing children to take them to school for fear of setting off horrific reactions in their work/class mates.   

Regrettably I have checked it out and it is not possible to be allergic to your job, maybe the people you work with or the environment, but not the job itself!  However, it is possible to be allergic to sex, well semen (not seamen silly, I am referring to man milk!) (headache feigning days could be well and truly over as another rationale has arrived!)

Granted not everyone is allergic to something, however there are several unusual allergies that exist on top of those annoying seasonal ones brought on in the main by pollen which seems to trigger hay fever affecting one in four people around spring and summer.  These are for keeps 365 days a year. 

But firstly it’s important to note the difference between an allergy and an intolerance as an allergy is an immune system response that can cause severe reactions such as rashes, wheezing, swelling, a drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing; in severe cases, a life-threatening anaphylaxis.  An intolerance is an inability to eat a food or take a drug without adverse effects but less serious, albeit not pleasant.

For me my allergy is chocolate which seems to bother others more than it affects me!   On hearing the news it’s as though I have just shared that I am an alien come to take over the planet or my head has rolled off my shoulders unexpectedly as it is met with such immediate and noisy emotions! A succession of oohs and aahs. ‘poor you’, ‘it must be dreadful’, we couldn’t imagine it and general OMG’s!

It appears that chocolate is the mainstream diet of many and the thought of not being able to continue consuming it fills them with instant despair and depression and reaching for the number of the nearest therapist!  But in my case what must be remembered is chocolate can be replaced with another form of yumminess like doughnuts! (jam/custard/apple) 

Rare as the condition, chocolate can trigger an allergic reaction, including headaches, rashes or difficulty in breathing. Because chocolate is made up of a variety of ingredients, it's not always the cocoa that's to blame—milk, nut traces and soy lecithin can also be triggers. For me it’s the cocoa, so it’s easy to identify and avoid.  And apart from my husband trying to force feed it to me to date all is well in my doughnut world!

Common allergies like pineapple and bee stings, drugs, pollen, dust and moldare one thing, but here are ones that go far outside the norm.


Up to 60 percent of the human adult body is water, so it’s surprising you can be allergic to it.  Only one in every 23 million individuals suffer from this so aquagenic urticaria is a rare and untreatable condition in which water of any temperature can cause the skin erupts in rashes making regular activities like showering and swimming extremely difficult.  Tears and sweat can even trigger symptoms in some people and in severe cases, people with this disorder can have trouble breathing after drinking water opting for distilled water.


Finding it hard to breathe after sex?  It may not be down to your man being something else between the sheets – it may in fact be a negative physical reaction to his seminal fluid.

There has been recent research claiming semen actually has health benefits and contains mood-lifting chemicals like cortisol and serotonin. However, this said male sexual fluids aren’t so good for everybody!

Human seminal plasma hypersensitivity is an allergic condition and can include itchy rash, welts, swelling and a burning sensation a few minutes after contact with male semen in any part of their body that comes in contact with the fluid. 

One solution is to use condoms or try exposure therapy as the disorder can be corrected through desensitisation wherein traces of seminal fluid are applied in increasing amounts every few minutes until the body becomes desensitised (bit of a faff but worth it!).

Fish Smell

Who can honestly say they enjoy the smell of fish? But some take it a step further.

When you smell something, you’re taking tiny particles of it into your nasal cavity, and intense fish allergies can make it possible for people to have severe reactions just by smelling them.

Certain fish seem to spark these reactions more easily; notably flounder and hake and the symptoms can include shortness of breath, wheezing, and skin rashes.


Although this may seem like a great excuse to avoid the gym, anyone suffering from an exercise allergy will tell you it's not as convenient as it sounds.  Some people are truly allergic to exercise, experiencing severe itching approximately 30 minutes after working out.  One in every 1,000 worldwide will be affected. It’s seen in people who are allergic to grapes, shellfish, wheat, hazelnut and some medicines. Attacks happen following an exercise activity after consumption of any of these foods.

One type of exercise allergy called cholinergic urticaria seems to be triggered by sweat. Others such as exercise induced anhioedema cause symptoms no matter how intense the physical activity is.


If your life’s dream is to become a carpenter, it’s a bit of a bummer to discover you’re allergic to wood and wood shavings.

The Sun

Solar urticaria is a rare condition where people break out in rashes in certain parts of the body after exposure to sunlight. The UV rays emitted by the sun cause chemical alterations in skin cells, leading to allergic responses.

While it’s common during summer and spring, those suffering from severe cases may also experience when cold.

Much more than the occasional sunburn, a sun allergy is an immune system reaction to making it essential for those affected to stay out of the sun and protect their skin with sunscreen.

But people with  photodermatitis have skin so sensitive that even the mildest exposure causes skin rashes. Those with this disorder must spend most of their lives in darkened areas, going out only at night. (I wonder if my teenage son has this?)


You may say you're sick of winter, but for some people, it is literally true. Be it from cold air outdoors, air conditioning or cold water, when the mercury plummets, those affected experience redness, itching and swelling, wwheezing or trouble breathing may also occurand in severe cases, fainting, shock and death.


Can you imagine being free of mobile phones, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs?

Electro sensitivity for some brings on a plethora of physical ailments, including migraines, rashes and chest pains, when near anything creating an electromagnetic field. (shame that this can’t be more of a viral experience to allow everyone to experience time out from technology!)


Did someone say shoes? (now I know what the chocolate lovers feel!). 

People can experience physical symptoms from their footwear that ranges from inflammation to painfully cracked skin caused by the glues, resins and other materials that go into making shoes and sweaty feet makes it worse!


People who are allergic to underwear are allergic to several fabrics that are normally used to create underwear, like polyester, latex and cotton. The latex and rubber in the waistbands as well as chemicals used to treat the fabrics are often the culprits.

They often develop itchy rashes, red skin and even painful blisters when exposed to it.

To avoid skin reactions, those affected people have to look for underwear without offending materials or alternatively go naked!


Wealth can be bad for your health as handling loose change can bring on an allergic reaction where you can develop an allergic rash on your hands which is a sign of being allergic to nickel sulphate.

Sufferers are advised to avoid contact with shiny objects such as jewellery, metal parts of clothing, lighters and even some door handles.


The hypersensitivity to pressure and touch, dermatographia or skin writing disease, is a condition where allergic responses like raised swollen bumps and itchy rashes are produced with the lightest of touch. Statistics reveal that between 2-5% of the global population is affected with this disorder.

It’s another form of urticaria and is often a life-long condition, although there are ways of minimising it.

Allergies to own child

Pemphigoid gestations is a rare condition which starts during the second or third trimester of pregnancy and extends to a few months after birthing. The mother suffers excruciating blisters on the tummy, which may extend to other areas in the upper torso. Their babies may also be born with a similar rash. The blisters usually disappear a few months after but may leave unsightly dark scars.

Fruits Harvested near Birch

People allergic to birch trees may suffer allergies to certain fruits and vegetables including carrot, hazelnut, celery, apple, kiwi, pear and peaches, especially when they were planted near a birch tree. Known as cross-reactivity, the condition is seen to people with allergic rhinitis during the peak of seasonal allergies. Similarly, people who are allergic to ragweed may also be hypersensitive to accessory fruits like cucumber, zucchini, melon and banana

About 90 percent of reported food allergies are reactions to the same eight foods; peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.

But what about the other 10 percent? Foods like wine, sesame seeds and apples can also cause an allergic reaction or can be the root of an intolerance that causes chronic symptoms.

With Allergy Awareness Week it will hopefully draw awareness to various allergies and promote well-being in those who suffer from them.

The best way to control allergies is to avoid or remove the allergen and to treat symptoms and eat doughnuts – it’s the way forward!


On a not so serious note.........

A man walks into a charity shop looking for a pair of trousers. The label inside declares, ‘May contain traces of nuts’. Boom Boom!