From a runny nose and itchy eyes to a skin rash and stomach cramps, there are many symptoms that could actually be warning signs of an allergy. Those who have mild symptoms may not even realize that they are dealing with an allergy. An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system believes a foreign and harmless substance is actually harmful, triggering an allergic reaction. Learn more about the most common types of allergies and their symptoms and when you should turn to an allergist for an evaluation.
There are many different kinds of foods that can cause an allergy, from peanuts and cow’s milk to seafood and wheat. Most people will notice that their symptoms appear not long after eating the offending food. Symptoms include:
- A tingling mouth
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, and throat
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea
From cockroaches and mosquitoes to fleas and bees, there are many stinging and biting insects that can cause an allergic reaction. Some people experience a serious allergic reaction to insect bites and stings (anaphylaxis). Other symptoms may include:
- Skin rashes
- Swelling of the throat, lips, and tongue
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Wheezing and trouble breathing
Latex is a material found in a variety of everyday objects, from rubber bands and balloons to condoms. If a person with a latex allergy comes in contact with latex they may experience symptoms of contact dermatitis (red, itchy skin). Other symptoms include:
- Inflammation of the eyes
- Swelling of the skin
- Runny nose
- Trouble breathing
If you notice that you have allergy symptoms year-round rather than seasonally then you may be dealing with an allergy to mold and fungus (these spores can be found in the air). Symptoms of a mold allergy include:
- Runny, itchy nose
- Dry skin
It’s common for people to have an allergy to the dander in animal fur. Both cats and dogs can cause allergies in people; however, cat allergies are twice as common. Symptoms include:
- Inflamed eyes
- Swelling or itching of the skin, eyes or nose
- Shortness of breath
- Asthma attack
If you are dealing with seasonal allergies, pollen (also known as hay fever) could very well be to blame. In fact, it’s one of the most common seasonal allergy triggers. Symptoms of a pollen allergy include:
- Red, watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Increased mucus production
- Runny nose
A true drug allergy isn’t as common as other allergies. Sometimes side effects of a medication can be confused for a drug allergy. If you think you may be allergic to a medication talk with your doctor. Signs of a drug allergy include,
- Skin rash
- Anaphylaxis (a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction)
When should I see an allergist?
If you are dealing with persistent congestion, cough, runny nose, or stomach pains after eating then an allergist will be able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat your allergy symptoms.
During your visit our allergist will perform specific diagnostic testing (skin prick test or blood test) to determine the type of allergy you are experiencing. From there, we can create an effective treatment plan that will include avoidance techniques to reduce exposure to allergens, as well as medications to manage your allergies or asthma symptoms. Severe allergies that do not respond to lifestyle changes and prescription medications may require immunotherapy (allergy shots).
If you are experiencing persistent allergy symptoms it’s important that you find out whether it’s an allergy or something else. Turn to an allergist to provide you with the comprehensive diagnostic tests you need to find out what’s causing your symptoms and then we can get to work treating them. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.