Since the majority of the human population suffers from some form of allergy, allergy symptoms are familiar to many people. The word allergy is used to refer to a hypersensitive response of the immune system to a substance that would normally be considered harmless.
Allergies can stem from several factors including genetic propensity or exposure to environmental factors like pollution.
Allergies are one of the most common of the complaints given at doctor’s offices and can be so severe that they cause emergency room visits. Allergy symptoms vary depending on the cause of the allergy and the severity of the immune response.
Some of the most common symptoms of allergies include symptoms that mimic those of a cold. Runny noses and watery eyes are often associated with mild allergic reactions to substances like pollen.
Hay fever is one of the most common of all allergies and those runny noses and watery eyes are symptoms of hay fever. Sneezing, coughing and nasal congestion are also often associated with hay fever. These symptoms are often controlled effectively by medications called antihistamines. The body’s immune system releases histamines in large amounts when confronted by any allergen.
Other symptoms of allergies can be quite severe. Symptoms can include a sore throat, severe congestion, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. In even more severe cases the symptoms can progress to include swelling of the throat and nasal passages.
This swelling might lead to an inability to breathe and even death. In many cases people confuse the body’s response to a virus like the flu with the similar response evoked by exposure to an allergen.
It is advantageous to remember that an actual fever is never associated with an allergic reaction. Hay fever, even though it has the word fever within it, does not include a raised body temperature.
Allergic reactions to allergens like food can be the most severe. These reactions are often genetic and one can find cases where entire families are unable to eat certain foods like peanuts or shellfish. Food allergy symptoms develop quickly, generally within 1 to 2 minutes of exposure to the offending food.
The symptoms can include itching or tingling within the mouth or on the tongue. They might also include diarrhea and abdominal pain or vomiting. Anaphylaxis is the most dangerous form of an allergic reaction and includes tightening of the airways, a sudden drop in blood pressure, shock, a rapid and unsteady pulse, fainting and unconsciousness.
In general, allergic reactions are mild and easily treated. Since the majority of the human population experiences some form of allergic response medications are widely available to treat allergy symptoms. In most people those symptoms are considered to be more troublesome than dangerous.