Allergies can develop at any stage in life. They are the result of your immune system mistaking a non-harmful foreign body as dangerous – whether it’s peanuts, animal fur or pollen. Allergic reaction symptoms can vary in form and can range from mild to severe. Here are some of the classic symptoms of an allergic reaction, what type of allergies cause them and what you can do to ease them.
Sneezing is one of the most common symptoms of an allergy and can occur by breathing an allergen in through the nose. It’s a common allergic reaction to pollen or animal fur. You’ll usually be able to distinguish it from a cold because it will come on suddenly and the nose will be unusually itchy. Taking antihistamines will stop you from sneezing.
Itchy eyes are another allergy symptom that can often accompany sneezing. This could be related to hay fever or the result of being licked by a dog on the face (or rubbing your eyes after stroking an animal). Antihistamines will also usually ease these symptoms.
Rashes or hives can occur on the skin when an allergen substance comes into skin contact. Common examples of allergens include dust mites, certain metals or even types of make-up. You may be able to take precautions against this allergy such as wearing hypoallergenic makeup or investing in the best latex mattress if you have an allergy to dust mites. You can take antihistamines and skin creams to ease these symptoms.
Wheezing or breathlessness can be a more serious allergic reaction as the result of breathing in an allergen substance or consuming an allergen substance. Cat hair, dust mites and certain foods may be triggers. You may want to visit your doctor about getting an inhaler for this type of allergy – this will help to open your airways so that you can breathe normally if you are exposed to an allergen.
Swollen lips or a swollen tongue are usually the result of eating an allergen substance. This is usually accompanied by itching and in some cases can be so severe that breathing is difficult. Common triggers include eggs, nuts, dairy and shellfish. You may be able to ease these symptoms by taking antihistamines or by applying a topical cream to the lips.
Some people experience classic food poisoning symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea from consuming certain foods. Others may simply experience mild stomach discomfort or nausea. Eggs, dairy, nuts and shellfish are common triggers. By identifying the trigger food you can cut it out of your diet. It’s worth noting that food allergies can be different to food intolerances.
Anaphylactic shock is the most serious form of allergic reaction. It may involve a combination of multiple symptoms listed above such as sneezing, breathlessness and swollen lips, while also causing a rapid heartbeat and dizziness. Some people even lose consciousness or stop breathing altogether. Anaphylactic shock can be deadly – if you start to experience it you should call an ambulance straight away. An EpiPen may need to be carried with you at all times.