Allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe and some allergies can cause multiple symptoms in an individual. Allergies may feel like a cold, but are the result of an environmental or food irritant, not of a virus. Nasal allergy symptoms can be caused by a variety of environmental allergens, both indoor (dust mites, pets, and pests) and outdoor (pollens). Mold spores, which can be found indoors and outdoors, can also trigger nasal allergy symptoms.
Allergy symptoms vary from patient to patient, with some people have chronically inflamed nasal passages. Some people also suffer from allergic conjunctivitis, which is when eyes are constantly watering and itching. This can make blinking painful. Eyes appear constantly pink and lids may puff out with inflammation.
Allergy symptoms occur when the immune system mistakenly believes a harmless substance is a threat. The substance that triggers allergy symptoms is called an “allergen.” When the immune system recognizes an allergen, it produces large quantities of IgE antibodies, which are proteins that bind to the allergen and activate processes that promote its elimination. The processes produce inflammation and other allergy symptoms as a result. The primary role of our immune system is to protect and safeguard the body from viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances. A person who is suffering from allergies has a hyperactive immune system that treats even harmless substances as harmful. The symptoms are the result of an overreaction by the immune system towards allergens.
One of the most common causes of indoor allergy symptoms is the house dust mite. It’s estimated that up to 85% of asthma cases, eczema and hay fever are caused by the fecal matter and cast-off skins of these little critters. These allergy triggers are only a couple microns in size and are invisible to the naked eye. They are abundant in almost all homes, with infestations prevalent in bedrooms and in bedding. The dead skin cells we naturally exfoliate every day are the food source for these microscopic dust mites. Protective measures can be taken to at least limit one’s exposure to dust mite populations and to reduce their effect in the home.
Allergy symptoms are very common in industrialized nations. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, over 54 percent of all Americans test positive for at least one allergen. This number may be on the rise as allergy cases have doubled in the last 20 years
Allergy symptoms often result from a combination of many different allergens from many different sources. The quality of air, food, and water we take into our bodies all may play a part, in addition to many other possible triggers.
Types of Allergy Symptoms
Food Allergy Symptoms
Food allergy symptoms can have a serious impact on your body’s respiratory system, and in some cases, these symptoms can prove life-threatening. When a food allergy becomes severe and involves the constriction of airways, this is called an anaphylactic reaction – and it is important that the susceptibility to this kind of allergy symptom is detected early and prepared for before tragedy strikes. Some of the most common food allergy triggers include peanuts, milk, shellfish, eggs, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. Food allergy symptoms caused by peanuts can be particularly severe. Symptoms of a food allergy can vary depending on the people suffering it. They can range from just an annoyance to the life threatening condition, anaphylactic reaction. These allergy symptoms usually appear within minutes, up to an hour after eating. There are some factors that affect the type, timing and location of these symptoms.
Fish Allergy Symptoms
People with fish allergy may also experience a tingling sensation in the mouth and difficulty in breathing. These symptoms may occur right after consuming the fish but there are cases where in the sufferer experience the fish allergy symptoms only after several hours and may even take days.
Milk Allergy Symptoms
Many people suffer from milk allergies and have to seriously curtail their diets in adjustment to their sensitivities to dairy products. Not to be confused with milk intolerance, milk allergy symptoms include hives, respiratory difficulties, and anaphylactic shock. Those who suffer from this form of food sensitivity can accidentally ingest a dairy product in some form and die on the way to the emergency room. This type of allergy is related to the protein found in cow’s milk whereas those who suffer from intolerance cannot digest the sugar found in the same food. While the symptoms of intolerance are uncomfortable and alter normal eating habits, this does not relate to the functioning of the immune system as do dairy sensitivities.
Egg Allergy Symptoms
An egg allergy is caused by the proteins in either the egg whites or the egg yolk. You can be allergic to one or both the proteins, but the proteins found in the egg white are more common allergy. Eggs are one of the most common foods that cause allergic reactions, especially in childhood. Because your immune system doesn’t recognize the proteins in an egg, it reacts by creating certain antibodies that attempt to neutralize these proteins. This action in the body causes the release of certain chemicals that lead to common these allergy symptoms.
Mold Allergy Symptoms
Mold allergy symptoms can cause major illness in the body. If you have a mold allergy, your immune system overreacts when you breathe in mold spores. This reaction triggers a cascade of reactions that lead to allergy symptoms. Like other allergies, a mold allergy can make you cough, make your eyes itch and cause other symptoms that make you miserable. In some people, mold allergy is linked to asthma and exposure causes restricted breathing and other airway symptoms.
If you exhibit mold allergy symptoms or suspect that you may have a mold allergy , you should make an appointment with your doctor for thorough testing. He will probably send you to an allergist for a full series of skin tests to see what exactly you are allergic to.
Wheat Allergy Symptoms
Wheat allergy symptoms are common among young children. Wheat allergy refers to the allergic reaction of the Immune System to some wheat proteins. In adults, it is a rare occurrence and even then, the symptoms are different than those of children. The symptoms could be hives, nausea or some other life-threatening symptom in extremely rare cases. The only treatment is a complete avoidance of the intake of wheat. Common wheat allergy symptoms are swollen, itchy or irritated mouth or throat; hives; itchy rashes; swollen skin; congested nose; itchy or watery eyes; difficulty breathing; cramps; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; and sometimes even anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be fatal; it adds other symptoms into the wheat allergy mix, such as tightness of the throat, chest pain, trouble swallowing, paleness, dizziness, fainting and a weak pulse. When someone suffers from anaphylaxis, it’s important that he gets to the doctor immediately. If he has an epinephrine injection with him, he should administer it right away. Many people with severe allergies carry epinephrine for emergency situations.
Peanut Allergy Symptoms
Peanut allergy symptoms usually appear minutes after exposure to peanuts-the most common way of exposure, of course, is through ingestion. However, some people claim that severe peanut allergy symptoms manifest simply by touching or smelling peanuts. Peanut allergy symptoms which appear upon smelling the peanuts are more likely due to the fact that small peanut particles may be found floating in air. These routes of exposure are usually not enough to cause severe peanut allergy symptoms, except maybe for those who are highly sensitive to peanuts.
Peanut allergy symptoms can range from mild to fatal. The most common peanut allergy symptoms are skin reactions including itching, redness, and hives. Itching could also occur in mouth, tongue, and throat. Gastrointestinal problems could also occur such as stomach pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Peanut allergy symptoms could also manifest as chest tightness, breathing difficulties, and/or runny nose.
Treatments of peanut allergy symptoms are usually directed to the alleviation of such symptoms. In milder cases, oral antihistamines can help these symptoms subside. Individuals who have peanut allergy are usually required to carry an emergency epinephrine injection. In cases where anaphylaxis occurs, emergency medical treatments are usually required and a closer look at peanut allergy symptoms is a must.
Pollen and other Allergy Symptoms
Seasonal allergy symptoms are typically caused by tree pollen in the spring, grasses in the summer, and ragweed in the fall. Seasonal allergy symptoms are also affected by where you live – meaning you may experience seasonal allergy symptoms in one part of the country, and be completely fine in another. Many other things can cause seasonal allergy symptoms to occur. The irritant can come from an indoor or outdoor allergen source. Pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold or mildew. Once exposed to the allergen, it takes mere minutes for the body to send out helper chemicals, including histamines that cause the uncomfortable symptoms. Millions of Americans suffer from seasonal Allergy Symptoms each year.
Rain may worsen allergy symptoms, but only in certain circumstances. Most of the time, rain is good for allergies because it helps wash away pollen and mold spores. However, for those who are sensitive to rye grass pollen, rain may actually heighten symptoms. This is because raindrops break up the larger pollen grains and then release the tiny particles into the air. These particles are tiny enough to enter the nose and lungs, thereby setting off the immune system.
Unlike seasonal allergies, mold allergy symptoms tend to be present all year round. They grow throughout the year in the indoor environment. In particular, indoor mold may be more of a problem during the winter months as the humidity levels in most homes tends to be higher.
Many people with pollen allergies notice symptoms during certain seasons. If you experience allergy symptoms all year long, you may have allergies to something in your home, such as dust mites or pet dander.
If you are allergic to animals, including dogs, cats, rodents, birds, or horses, the best way to limit your allergy symptoms is to avoid contact with the animal. But almost half of all households in the U.S. have at least one pet, and many people consider their pets to be part of the family. If eliminating animals from your life is not an option, limiting your exposure to animal allergens can help you control your allergy symptoms.
Any animal with fur or feathers can contribute to your allergies. If you’re in close contact with such an animal and you’re sensitive to the allergens it gives off, that animal can give you allergy symptoms
Allergy Symptoms Testing
An allergist can help determine if you have seasonal allergies, and to which types of pollens to which you are allergic. This is accomplished through allergy testing, which typically involves skin testing or a blood test (RAST). Allergy testing can be helpful in predicting the times of the year that you are likely to experience allergy symptoms and is needed if you are interesting in taking allergy shots.
Allergy Symptoms Control
Allergy symptom control is most successful when multiple management approaches are used simultaneously. These may include minimizing exposure to allergens, desensitization with allergy shots, and medications or other therapies. Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, are given to increase your tolerance to the allergens at large that provoke allergy symptoms. It is usually recommended for people who suffer from severe allergies or for those who have allergy symptoms more than 3 months each year. These shots can potentially cure allergies, while every other modality just treats symptoms.
In order to reduce common household contaminants such as dust, dust mites, pollen and pet dander it is recommended that you clean regularly. Cleaning adequately includes vacuuming and dusting at least once or twice a week and washing bedding weekly in hot water (131 degrees F.) Ridding these contaminants from your living spaces can greatly reduce allergy symptoms and create comfortable indoor environments.