Allergy Symptoms: What You Need to Know
Allergies are a common health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. They occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a particular substance or allergen that is normally harmless (1). In this blog post, we’ll explore the most common allergy symptoms and what you can do to manage them.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system that mistakenly identifies a harmless substance as a threat. This triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Common Allergy Symptoms
1. Runny or Stuffy Nose
One of the most common allergy symptoms is a runny or stuffy nose (2). This occurs when the body produces excess mucus in response to an allergen.
Sneezing is another common allergy symptom (2). It occurs when the body tries to expel the allergen from the nasal passages.
3. Itchy, Watery Eyes
Allergies can also cause itchy, watery eyes (2). This is due to the release of histamine, which causes inflammation and irritation of the eyes.
4. Skin Rash
Allergies can cause a skin rash or hives, which are red, raised bumps that can be itchy and uncomfortable (2).
5. Difficulty Breathing
In severe cases, allergies can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, or anaphylaxis (2), which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency medical treatment.
Managing Allergy Symptoms
1. Avoiding Allergens
The best way to manage allergy symptoms is to avoid exposure to the allergen (3). This may involve avoiding certain foods, staying indoors during high pollen counts, or using hypoallergenic products.
Over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal sprays, and eye drops can help relieve allergy symptoms (4). In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary.
Immunotherapy, such as allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy, can help reduce the severity of allergic reactions over time by gradually exposing the body to the allergen (5).
Allergies can cause a range of symptoms, including a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, a skin rash, and difficulty breathing. Managing allergy symptoms involves avoiding allergens, taking medication, or undergoing immunotherapy. If you suspect you have allergies, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
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- Leeds Children’s Hospital, 2023. What is an allergy?. [Online]
Available at: https://www.leedsth.nhs.uk/a-z-of-services/childrens-allergy-service/what-is-an-allergy/
- NHS, 2022. Allergies. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergies/
- Eigenmann, P. A., 2005. Diagnosis of allergy syndromes: do symptoms always mean allergy?. European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
- NHS, 2023. Antihistamines. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antihistamines/
- The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, 2023. Immunotherapy. [Online] Available at: https://www.christie.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/your-treatment-and-care/treatments/immunotherapy