Symptoms of Allergies
An allergy is an immune system response to a foreign substance that’s not typically harmful for your body. These foreign substances are Known as allergens. They may include certain foods, pollen, or pet dander.
Your immune system job is to keep you healthy by fighting from harmful pathogens. It does this by attacking anything that may put your body in danger. Depending on the type of allergen, this response may involve sneezing, inflammation, or a host of other symptoms.
Your immune system should normally adjust to the environment. For example if your body encounters something like pet dander, it should realize it’s harmless. The people with dander allergies, the immune system perceives it as an outside invader threatening to the body and attacks it.
Allergies are very common nowadays. Several treatments may help you avoid your symptoms.
Symptoms of allergies
The symptoms that you experience because of allergies are the result of several factors. These may include the type of allergy you have and how severe the allergy is.
If you take any kind of medication before an anticipated allergic response, you may still experience some of these symptoms, but they may be reduced.
Food allergies trigger swelling, hives, nausea, fatigue, and much more. It may take a while for a person to realize that he has a food allergy problem. If you have a serious reaction after your meal and you’re not sure why, see a medical professional immediately. They can find the exact cause for your reaction or refer you to a specialist.
Having fever symptoms can mimic those of a cold. They include congestion, runny nose, or swollen eyes. Most of the time, you may manage these symptoms at home using over-the-counter treatments. See to your doctor if your symptoms become unmanageable.
Severe allergies may cause anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening emergency that can lead to breathing difficulties, lightheadedness, loss of consciousness or restlessness. If you’re experiencing these symptoms after coming in contact with a possible allergen, seek medical help immediately.
Everyone’s signs and symptoms of allergic reactions are different.
Skin allergies may be a sign or the symptom of an allergy. They may also cause due to direct result of exposure to an allergen.
For example, eating the food you’re allergic to may cause several symptoms. You can experience tingling in your mouth and throat. A rash can also be developed in your body.
Contact dermatitis, however, is the result of your skin coming to direct contact with an allergen. This may happen if you touch something you are allergic to, such as cleaning any product or plant.
Types of skin allergies may include:
- Contact dermatitis. Red, itchy patches of skin develop almost immediately after contact with an allergen.
- Swollen eyes. Eyes may become watery or itchy and look “puffy.”
- Rashes. Areas of skin are irritated, red, or swollen, and may be painful or itchy.
- Eczema. Patches of skin become inflamed and can bleed and itch.
- Sore throat. throat or Pharynx is irritated or inflamed.
- Burning. Skin inflammation leads to discomfort,stinging sensations and rashes on the skin.
- Hives. Red, itchy, and raised welts of various sizes develop on the surface of the skin.
- Itching. There’s irritation or inflammation in the skin.
Rashes are one of the most common symptoms of a skin allergy. Find out how to identify rashes and how to cure them.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure why the immune system causes an allergic reaction when a normally harmless foreign substance enters the body.
Allergies have a genetic component. This means parents can pass them down to their children. However, only a general susceptibility to the allergic reaction is genetic. Specific allergies aren’t passed down. For instance, if your mother is allergic to the shellfish, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be, too.
Common types of allergens include:
- Drugs. Penicillin and sulfa drugs are common triggers.
- Animal products. These include pet dander, dust mite waste, and cockroaches.
- Insect stings. These may include bees, wasps, and mosquitoes.
- Foods. Wheat, milk, nuts, shellfish, and egg allergies are common.
- Mold. Airborne spores from mold can trigger a reaction.
- Plants. Pollen from grass, trees, weeds, as well as resin from plants such as poison ivy and poison oak, are very common plant allergens.
- Other allergens. Latex, often found in latex gloves and condoms, and metals like nickel are also common allergens.
Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, are also some of the most common allergies. These are caused by pollen released by plants. They cause:
- itchy eyes
- runny nose
- watery eyes
Food allergies are often becoming more common.
The best way to avoid allergies is to stay away from whatever triggers the reaction in your body. If that’s not possible, there are necessary treatment options available.
Allergy treatment often includes some medications like antihistamines to control symptoms. The medication can be over the counter or prescription. What your doctor recommends depends on the severity of your allergies.
Allergy medications include:
- loratadine (Claritin)
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- cromolyn sodium (Gastrocrom)
- decongestants (Afrin, Suphedrine PE, Sudafed)
- leukotriene modifiers (Singulair, Zyflo)
Singulair should be prescribed only if there are no other suitable treatment options. This is because it increases your body risk
of serious behavioral and mood changes, such as suicidal thoughts and actions.
Many people opt for immunotherapy. This involves several injections over the course of a few years to help the body get used for your allergy. Successful immunotherapy can prevent allergy symptoms from returning.
Emergency usage of epinephrine
If you have a severe, life-threatening allergy, carry an emergency epinephrine shot with you. This shot counters allergic reactions until medical help arrives. Common brands of this treatment include EpiPen and Twinject.
Some allergic responses may be counted as a medical emergency. Prepare for these emergency situations by knowing allergic reactions first aid.
Natural remedies for allergies
Many natural remedies and supplements are supplied and marketed as a treatment and even a way to prevent allergies. Discuss these natural remedies and supplements with your doctor before trying them. Some natural treatments may actually contain other allergens and make your symptoms worse.
For example, some dried tea use flowers and plants that are closely related to plants that might be causing you serious sneezing. The same is true for some essential oils. Some people use these oils to relieve common symptoms of allergies, but essential oils still contain ingredients that may cause allergies.
Each type of allergy has a host of natural remedies that may help speed up recovery. There are also natural options for children’s allergies, too.
How allergies are diagnosed
Your doctor can diagnose allergies in several ways.
First, your doctor will ask about your symptoms of allergies and perform a physical exam. They’ll ask about anything unusual you may have eaten recently or any substances you may have come in contact with. For example, if you have a rash on your hands, your doctor may ask if you put on latex gloves recently.
Lastly, a blood test and skin test can diagnose or confirm allergens your doctor suspects you have.
Allergic blood test
Your doctor can order a blood test. Your blood will be tested for the presence of allergy-causing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These are cells that react to allergens in your body. Your doctor will use a blood test to confirm a diagnosis if they’re worried about the potential for a severe allergic reaction.
Your doctor may also refer you to an allergist for the treatment and testing. A skin test is a common type of allergy test carried out by an allergist.
During this test, your skin is scratched or pricked with small needles containing potential allergens. Your skin’s reaction is documented. If you’re allergic to a particular substance, your skin will become red and inflamed.
Different tests may be needed to diagnose all your potential allergies.
There’s no way to prevent allergies. But there are ways to prevent the symptoms from occurring. The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergens that trigger them.
Avoidance is the most effective way to prevent food allergy symptoms in your body. An elimination diet can help you determine the cause of your allergies so you may know how to avoid them. To help you avoid food allergens, thoroughly read food labels.
Preventing contact, seasonal, and other allergies comes down to knowing where the allergens are located and how to avoid them. If you’re allergic to dust, for example, you can reduce symptoms by installing proper air filters in your home, getting your air ducts professionally cleaned, and dusting your home on a regular basis.
Proper allergy testing can help you pinpoint your exact triggers, which makes them easier to avoid.
Complications of allergies
While you may think of allergies as those pesky sniffles and sneezes that come around every new season, some of these allergic reactions can actually be life threatening.
Anaphylaxis, for example, is a serious reaction to the exposure of allergens. Most people associate anaphylaxis with food, but any kind of allergen can cause the telltale signs:
- increased heart rate
- suddenly narrowed airways
- possible swelling of the tongue and mouth
Allergy symptoms can also create many complications. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your symptoms as well as the difference between a sensitivity and a full-blown allergy. Your doctor can also teach you how to manage your allergy symptoms so that you can avoid the worst complications in your body.
Asthma and allergies
Asthma is a common respiratory condition. It makes breathing more difficult and can narrow the air passageways in your lungs.
Asthma is closely related to allergies. Indeed, allergies can make existing asthma worse. It can also trigger asthma in a person who’s never had the condition.
When these conditions occur together, it’s a condition called allergy-induced asthma, or allergic asthma. Allergic asthma affects about 60 percent of people who have asthma in Africa, UK, United states of America , estimates the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America.
Many people with allergies may develop asthma. Here’s how to recognize if it happens to you.
Allergies vs. cold
Runny nose, sneezing, and coughing are the most common symptoms of allergies. They also happen to be common symptoms of a cold and a sinus infection. Indeed, deciphering between the sometimes-generic symptoms can also be difficult.
However, additional signs and symptoms of these conditions may help you distinguish between the three. For example, allergies can cause rashes on your skin and itchy eyes. The common cold can lead to body aches, even fever. A sinus infection may typically produce thick, yellow discharge from your nose.
Allergies may impact your immune system for prolonged periods of time. When the immune system is compromised, it makes you more likely to pick up viruses you come into contact with. This includes the virus that causes the common cold.
In turn, having allergies actually increases your risk for having more colds.
Hay fever can produce symptoms that include coughing, sneezing, and persistent, stubborn cough. It’s the result of your body’s overreaction to allergens. It is not contagious, but it can be miserable.
Unlike a chronic cough, a cough caused by allergies and hay fever is temporary. You may experience the symptoms of this seasonal allergy during specific times of the year, when plants are first blooming.
Additionally, seasonal allergies may trigger asthma, and asthma can cause coughing. When a person with common seasonal allergies is exposed to an allergen, tightening airways can lead to a cough. Shortness of breath and chest tightening may also occur.
Allergies and bronchitis
Viruses or bacteria can cause bronchitis, or it may be the result of allergies. The first type, acute bronchitis, typically ends after several days or weeks. Chronic bronchitis, however, can linger for months, possibly longer. It may also return frequently.
Exposure to common allergens is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis. These allergens include:
- air pollution
- cigarette smoke
- chemical fumes
Unlike seasonal allergies, many types of these allergens linger in environments like houses or offices. That can make chronic bronchitis more persistent and more likely to return.
Allergies and babies
Skin allergies are nowadays more common in younger children today than they were just a few decades ago. However, skin allergies decrease as children grow older. Respiratory and food allergies become more common as children get older.
Common skin allergies on babies include:
- Allergic contact dermatitis. This type of skin allergy appears quickly, often immediately after your baby comes into contact with any irritant. More serious contact dermatitis can develop into painful blisters and cause skin cracking.
- Eczema. This is an inflammatory skin condition that causes red rashes in the body that itch. These rashes may develop slowly but be persistent.
- Hives. Hives are the red bumps or raised areas of skin that develop after exposure to an allergen. They don’t become scaly and crack, but itching the hives may make the skin bleed.