Are you dealing with a stuffy nose and watery eyes in the spring and summer seasons? Or, maybe you experience specific symptoms when eating certain types of foods? Allergies can affect people of all ages, with a variety of triggers that vary from one person to the next.
Common allergy symptoms can affect your daily activities and be a nuisance over time. But most of the time, allergy symptoms don’t cause a severe concern.
Regardless of the severity of your allergies, it can help talk to a doctor about your concerns. Everything from mild hay fever to severe anaphylactic reactions can be addressed, giving you medications and treatment options to minimize the symptoms.
What Causes an Allergic Reaction?
When your body is exposed to an allergic trigger, it can cause a mild, moderate, or severe reaction.
Sometimes, these allergy triggers are caused by things in the environment to which you are exposed. For example, pollen in the air during certain seasons might cause upper-respiratory allergy reactions for some people.
Other allergies occur due to reactions from certain ingredients. If a person eats the allergen, then they will experience symptoms during and after the meal.
Severe food allergies can even cause an allergic reaction when the person comes in contact with that ingredient (but doesn’t consume it). For example, people with severe allergies to peanuts can’t be around anything with peanuts because contact with the skin or exposure in the room could result in anaphylaxis.
Common Allergy Symptoms
How do you know when you are experiencing an allergic reaction? Here’s a list of some of the most common allergy symptoms you need to watch out for:
- Nasal Allergy Symptoms: Inflammation and irritation in the nasal passages can cause a variety of symptoms, such as congestion or a runny nose. Some people also sneeze frequently or experience an itching sensation in the nose.
- Eye Allergy Symptoms: The eyes can be affected by environmental triggers and food triggers. If you have eye allergies, you are likely experiencing symptoms such as red, itchy, watery eyes.
- Breathing Allergy Symptoms: If the upper respiratory system is affected by allergy symptoms, it can affect a person’s ability to breathe. These symptoms might include chest tightness, wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath.
- Skin Allergy Symptoms: Inflammation and allergy reactions in the skin can cause rashes or hives. Not only do skin eruptions occur due to contact with the allergen, but hives can also happen from food consumption.
- Facial Allergy Symptoms: Sometimes, an inflammatory response affects the facial area. Swelling can occur in the eyes, tongue, lips, or cheeks.
- Digestive Allergy Symptoms: Eating something that causes an allergic reaction could result in digestive distress. Common allergy symptoms include nausea, a stomach ache, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Severe Allergy Symptoms: Certain allergy symptoms might be a bit different than you’d expect. Sometimes a feeling of doom could be a signal of a severe food allergy. Or a sudden drop in blood pressure could make a person feel confused or weak all over.
Keep in mind that specific allergy symptoms vary depending on how you come in contact with the allergen and the severity of your allergy. You might experience nasal congestion from pollen exposure, a rash from an allergy to beauty products, or digestive issues if you eat something your body is allergic to.
Someone with a mild allergy to peanuts might have small hives for a few hours. But a person with a severe peanut allergy can experience an anaphylactic response that stops their breathing within minutes.
How Long Does It Take for Allergy Symptoms to Occur?
The timing of symptoms depends on the severity of your allergy, as well as the level of exposure. For example, severe allergies can cause an immediate, intense reaction within a few minutes of exposure to the trigger.
On the other hand, some people have a gradual development of allergy symptoms as they are exposed to the triggers over time. You might notice minor symptoms of hay fever, and then the symptoms get worse through the years.
Allergies vs. Head Cold: How to Tell the Difference
How can you tell if you are experiencing allergies or an illness? There’s not always a clear-cut way to tell the difference between allergies and a viral or bacterial condition. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to a doctor to help identify the cause of your ailments.
Pay attention to the timing of your allergy symptoms, as well as any factors that might have triggered the response. If you notice that the symptoms get worse after eating certain foods or being in specific environments, then it’s likely that you are experiencing an allergic reaction.
When the symptoms start unexpectedly, increase over a few days, then go away within 7 – 10 days, then you might be suffering from a viral infection.
When to Talk to a Doctor about Allergies
If you think you are experiencing an allergic reaction, then it’s wise to talk to a doctor for treatment and diagnosis. Identifying your specific allergies can be helpful so you can control exposure to those triggers in the future.
The most effective solution to alleviate allergy symptoms is by avoiding exposure. When you aren’t coming in contact with the trigger, then the symptoms don’t occur. If you know you are allergic to a particular type of food, then avoid eating that ingredient whenever possible.
But it’s not reasonable to avoid all allergy triggers, especially when the allergens are in the environment. In this situation, you need to minimize exposure and work with a doctor to identify a treatment plan.
It’s also important to talk to an experienced doctor if you are having moderate or severe allergy reactions. These allergy symptoms can potentially be life-threatening, which is why many people with severe allergies carry an epi-pen for immediate treatment when needed.
Choosing the Right Doctor: General Practitioner or ENT?
General practitioners can help with a range of conditions affecting the whole body. But sometimes it’s better to talk to a specialist about your concerns. When allergy symptoms affect your ears, nose, or throat, an ENT can be an excellent resource for diagnosis and treatment.
ENT doctors focus on the upper respiratory tract. Through diagnostic services, your doctor can help you identify the underlying causes of your symptoms. A personalized treatment plan can then be designed to alleviate mild, moderate, or severe allergy symptoms.
When you need to visit with an ear, nose, throat specialist in the Collin County or Dallas area, then call our office for assistance. Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat has offices in Frisco and Plano, TX. You’re invited to request an appointment using our online form. Or call during business hours: (972) 596-4005.