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Signs and Symptoms of Allergies

People who have allergies have an immune system that reacts to what is in most cases a harmless substance (such as pollen, animal hair or peanuts). Many people suffer from allergies, with nearly 1 in 5 Americans having some sort of allergy.

But how do you know if you are allergic to something? The signs and symptoms differ based on the type of allergy you have. Below are some of the more common types of allergies and their symptoms.

Outdoor Allergies:

  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Watery, itchy or swollen eyes

Food Allergy:

  • Hives
  • Tingly mouth
  • Swollen tongue, throat, lips and/or face
  • Anaphylaxis - Severe reaction with symptoms such as difficult breathing, skin rash, upset stomach and throwing up, loss of consciousness and swelling of windpipes which can make it hard to breathe

Drug Allergy

  • Rash
  • Itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face
  • Wheezing
  • Anaphylaxis

Pet Allergy

  • Running, itchy and/or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery, itchy or swollen eyes
  • Coughing and wheezing

Talk to Your Doctor

If you have any of the above symptoms that you think are caused by an allergy, you should talk with your doctor. Your doctor may then have you tested to see if you are allergic to something. There are two types of tests that your doctor or an allergy specialist can do:

  • Skin test
  • Blood test

A skin test is the more common of the two, but in some cases a blood allergy test may be performed. These tests can help figure out if you have an allergy to foods, insect stings, animals, pollen, mold, drugs and other things.

But, if you, your child or someone else you are with has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), call 911 right away and use their EpiPen if they have one. It is important to follow up with your doctor if you or your child has had any of the signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis. Your doctor may send you to an allergy specialist to better manage your allergies and symptoms.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, WebMD

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