Common Allergy Symptoms
Most common symptoms of an allergic reaction to inhaled allergens include:
- Itchy, red, watery eyes
- Itchy nose, sneezing
- Nasal congestion, runny nose
- Postnasal drainage, throat clearing, cough
- Feeling tired or ill
- wheezing and shortness of breath in more severe cases
Other exposures can cause different allergic reactions:
An allergic reaction to food allergens can cause itching of the mouth, lips, swelling of the lips or tongue, "scratchy throat", hives, generalized itching or flushing, stomach cramps, vomiting or diarrhea.
Contact allergens may cause rashes with dry, itchy skin with redness or even blistering in the exposed area.
An allergic reaction to a sting from a bee or other insect can cause a local reaction with swelling, redness, and/or pain while systemic reaction may involve hives, itching, dizziness, wheezing and shortness of breath.
The severity of an allergic reaction can vary widely. Mild allergy symptoms may be minimal, just making you feel a little unwell, having poor sleep or mild upper respiratory symptoms. Moderate symptoms can make you feel ill, as if you've got a cold or even the flu. Severe allergic reactions are extremely uncomfortable, even incapacitating.
Most symptoms of an allergic reaction go away shortly after the exposure stops.
The most severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. In anaphylaxis, allergens cause a whole-body allergic reaction that can include:
Hives, itching or flushing all over (not just in the exposed area)
Wheezing and/or shortness of breath
Hoarseness or tightness in the throat
Tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Feeling of "impending doom"
Anaphylaxis may be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms can progress rapidly, so head for the emergency room if there's any suspicion of anaphylaxis.