Allergic Reaction Symptoms? Here’s What You Need to Know

Allergies are a bit of a mystery. Experts don’t fully understand why some people are allergic to certain things that others are not. Pollen, foods, dust and medications are all common allergens that can trigger mild or severe allergic reaction symptoms. It’s important to know what to do if you think you are having an allergic reaction.

What Causes Allergic Reaction Symptoms?

An allergic reaction happens when your body mistakes a substance for something that is trying to harm you, causing your immune system to go into fight mode and create antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies cause certain cells to release chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. Depending on the allergen, these symptoms can range from a stuffy nose and itchy eyes to hives on the skin to trouble breathing. In severe cases, allergic reactions can be life threatening.

If you are having allergy symptoms that concern you, River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department is a great option for minor allergy symptom relief.

Common Allergy Symptoms

Airborne allergens, or environmental allergens, are some of the most common culprit of allergies, causing allergic rhinitis. Types of airborne allergens include:

  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen from plants, which causes seasonal allergies

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Itchy nose or throat
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose

Some chemicals, such as those found in laundry detergent or soaps, can cause people to have allergic skin reactions. Other common causes of allergies include certain foods, such as cow’s milk, peanuts and eggs; medicines, such as certain antibiotics; and insect bites. Allergic reaction symptoms caused by these allergens include:

  • Breaking out in hives
  • Coughing
  • Drop in blood pressure, which can lead to feeling lightheaded or fainting
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Itchy, swollen eyes
  • Stomachache
  • Swelling
  • Throat tightening
  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Wheezing

Severe cases can lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. If you experience severe shortness of breath, lightheadedness, stomach pain and/or vomiting, call 911 or go to the emergency room at River’s Edge Hospital.

Managing Allergies

How long allergic reaction symptoms last varies depending on the allergen and the severity of the allergy. But there are things you can do to avoid or manage your symptoms.

For environmental allergies, medications such as antihistamines help many people. You can also try staying inside on high pollen count days, using central air conditioning and changing your clothes when you come in from outdoors. Some also benefit from immunotherapy, a series of allergy shots to help your body adapt to the allergen.

For food allergies, it’s essential to avoid the food that triggers the reaction. Read food labels carefully and inform your server of your allergy when you go out to eat. If you do experience a severe reaction, get medical help as quickly as possible.

Experiencing bothersome allergy symptoms? Visit River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department, conveniently located at the hospital’s main entrance.

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