From pollen to peanuts, allergies are extremely common. In fact, a whopping 50 million Americans suffer from allergies yearly.1 So there’s a good chance you have one!
When left untreated, allergies can cause unpleasant health problems. They can also interfere with our daily activities. In more serious cases, allergies may become life-threatening. It’s important to know what an allergic reaction looks like as our bodies and the surroundings keep changing every day.
7 Signs Of An Allergic Reaction
Here are seven signs that you should know about.
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A runny, itchy nose is one of the most common allergic reactions. This can cause sneezing that just won’t stop! You may also have a decreased sense of smell. Together, these symptoms are known as allergic rhinitis.2 It can be caused by all types of allergens – even food.3 If allergic rhinitis gets worse, breathing becomes difficult. So don’t take it lightly.
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2. Itchy Eyes
Allergies to pollen, dander, and dust can cause conjunctivitis. This is marked by irritation of the eyes, along with redness and itchiness. You might also notice that your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable, causing them to tear up.4 Try your very best to avoid rubbing your eyes because it’ll only make it worse. You should also take out the contact lenses and consider using eye drops.
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Allergies can cause swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and mouth. Your eyes can puff up, too. And while this usually isn’t serious, swelling can become life-threatening if it restricts breathing.5 This symptom is typically paired with tingling sensations around the affected area.
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Some people develop hives, also known as urticaria. These are raised patches of skin that are made of red or white welts. They look like bug bites but have a smoother surface. Hives can appear absolutely anywhere on the body, including places that didn’t even touch the allergen.6 You might also notice that they form (and disappear) fairly quickly.
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Symptoms of allergic reactions include coughing and wheezing. This may be paired with an itchy sore throat. Unsurprisingly, these symptoms are often linked to throat swelling. People with asthma are more likely to cough, wheeze, and have chest tightness.7 Again, breathing difficulties may be an issue.
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6. Stomach Pain
If you eat something that you’re allergic to, abdominal pain is likely. Cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea might also show up. However, these symptoms won’t happen instantly. They usually develop within two hours after eating the culprit food. Common allergens include shellfish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat.8 You should always check food packaging to make sure you’re not accidentally eating something you’re allergic to.
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Having an allergic reaction can be uncomfortable. And if you are not sure what’s happening, it can also be stressful! So it’s no surprise that a reaction might make you anxious. Heart palpitations and dizziness are also possible.9 If this happens to you, try to take it easy. Keep in mind that symptoms will subside once you take the proper medication.
If you have any of these symptoms, take an antihistamine immediately. Your symptoms should subside soon after. Meanwhile, drink lots of water to flush out your system. If the symptoms don’t go away or get worse, get medical help.
In the future, you can prevent allergic reactions by avoiding triggers. Not sure what you’re allergic to? Visit an allergist to find out.
|↑1||Allergy Facts, American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology|
|↑2, ↑5||Allergies – Symptoms, NHS Choices|
|↑3||Allergic rhinitis, MedlinePlus|
|↑4||Conjunctivitis, NHS Choices|
|↑6||Hives (Urticaria), American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology|
|↑8||Food allergy, Medline Plus|
|↑9||Allergic reactions, University of Maryland Medical Center|