Updated 22 May 2017

Main allergy triggers

There are more than 240 allergy triggers, some rare and others very common. Who’d have thought that barley, pigeon feathers, silk, egg yolk, vanilla and lentils could be allergens?


But before you banish your parrot, throw away your shirt and give up lentils for Lent, find out what the major allergens are. The chances are good that you’re not allergic to the more obscure ones.

The major allergens are:

  • Grass pollens: Bermuda grass, Rye grass
  • Tree pollens: Oak, Olive, Eucalyptus, Acacia
  • Weed pollens: Mugwort, Sheep sorrell
  • Moulds: Cladosporium fumigatus, Alternaria alternata
  • Mites: Dermataphogoides pteronyssinus, Dermataphogoides farinae
  • Occupational hazards: Latex
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Drug allergies: Penicilloyl G, Penicilloyl V, Amoxilloyl
  • Venoms: Honey bee
  • Insects: cockroach
  • Parasites: Acsaris (mainly in the Western Cape), Schistosoma (mainly in the north of the country).

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated 2011)

Read more:
What happens to you body? - Allergy
Allergy Society of South Africa (ALLSA)


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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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