Allergies

:: Allergies are reactions by your immune system to something that does not bother most other people.

Bonum / Conditions / Allergies

Symptoms

Allergy symptoms depend on the substance involved, but allergic reactions can range from mild to severe depending on the person:

A food allergy can cause:
  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat
  • Hives
  • Anaphylaxis
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, can cause:
  • Sneezing
  • Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
A drug allergy can cause:
  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Rash
  • Facial swelling
  • Wheezing
  • Anaphylaxis
A life-threatening medical emergency, anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • A rapid, weak pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting
An insect sting allergy can cause:
  • A large area of swelling (edema) at the sting site
  • Itching or hives all over the body
  • Cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis
Atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition also called eczema, can cause skin to:
  • Itch
  • Redden
  • Flake or peel
lady-with-allergies

Overview

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance — such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander — or a food that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people. Your immune system produces substances known as antibodies. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system. The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening emergency. While most allergies can’t be cured, treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.

Prevention

Preventing allergic reactions depends on the type of allergy you have. General measures include the following:
  • Avoid known triggers. Even if you’re treating your allergy symptoms, try to avoid triggers. If, for instance, you’re allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed when pollen is high. If you’re allergic to dust mites, dust and vacuum and wash bedding often.
  • Keep a diary. When trying to identify what causes or worsens your allergic symptoms, track your activities and what you eat, when symptoms occur and what seems to help. This may help you and your doctor identify triggers.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet. If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction, a medical alert bracelet (or necklace) lets others know that you have a serious allergy in case you have a reaction and you’re unable to communicate.

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