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An allergy is when your body’s immune system reacts to something that’s otherwise harmless to most people. Learn more about common symptoms related to the different types of allergic conditions.

Common Allergy Symptoms

If you come into contact with a substance your immune system views as a threat—aka an allergen, such as animal dander, a certain food, or a plant—your immune system releases a chemical called histamine. The release of histamine, along with other substances released by the body, trigger allergy symptoms that can range from mild to severe and can affect your skin, sinuses, airways, and/or digestive track. 

Mild and more common allergy symptoms include:1

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Stomach pain
  • Hives
  • Itchy mouth or ears
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, or throat


Anaphylaxis is a rare, but serious, life-threatening allergic reaction. If you or someone around you is experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis, including loss of consciousness, a drop in blood pressure, and severe shortness of breath, call your local emergency number immediately. Learn more about the common symptoms and signs of anaphylaxis here.

 

Take Control of Your Symptoms

Recognizing the typical symptoms or signs of allergies is the first step toward an accurate diagnosis, appropriate management, and optimal symptom relief. However, in most cases, it’s not so easy to trace a symptom back to its cause. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your healthcare provider about your medical history, current symptoms, and testing options.

Common Types of Allergies

Click on a condition below to learn more about different allergy types and associated symptoms.

FOOD ALLERGIES

Because an allergic reaction to food can be so serious and severe, it is important to know if your symptoms are caused by an intolerance, such as a lactose intolerance, or by an allergy to foods, such as eggs, milk, or peanuts. Some common food allergy symptoms can include digestive issues, hives, and intense itching. Find out more about food allergy symptoms here.

ASTHMA

Allergic asthma, also known as allergy-induced asthma, happens when allergens trigger asthmatic responses. Some common symptoms of allergic asthma can include wheezing and shortness of breath. Learn more about allergic asthma and its symptoms here.

SEASONAL ALLERGIES

Seasonal allergies are the result of allergens that are present during a specific time of year. Often, seasonal allergies occur during the spring and fall when pollen levels are typically at their highest, and can cause symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. Discover common causes and symptoms here.

YEAR-ROUND ALLERGIES

Year-round allergies stick around, regardless of the season. Common triggers can actually be found within your home, including things like dust mites, mold, and animals, and can cause coughing, runny nose, and sneezing. Find out more about the symptoms these triggers cause here.

WHEAT ALLERGY

Wheat allergy is most commonly seen in children and is usually outgrown by school-age. Rarely, it can cause severe reactions like anaphylaxis, and more commonly causes symptoms that include hives, nausea, and stomach cramps. Read more about wheat allergy and common symptoms here.

INSECT STING ALLERGY

When a bee, wasp, or hornet stings a person, it injects a small amount of venom into the person’s body. For those who are sensitized to the allergen, it can trigger an allergic response which can include pain, redness, and itching. Learn more about venom allergy symptoms here.

Why don’t I have ALLERGY symptoms all the Time?

When you encounter multiple things you are allergic to at the same time, all of those reactions can add up to the point where you start having allergy symptoms.2,3

Determining your allergic triggers can help you stay below your symptom threshold, the point where you start experiencing symptoms. 

Allergy season-symptom threshold overview graphic
 
Allergy test questionnaire checkmark icon

Am I allergic?

You may think what you’re experiencing is normal, but so many people are used to living with their symptoms that they never consider asking for help. So, how do you know if your symptoms are caused by an allergy?

 

A simple blood test—together with your medical history—can help identify underlying allergen triggers, if you have an allergy. Knowing if you’re allergic and what you’re allergic to can help you, or someone you know, avoid or minimize symptoms. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider.

References
  1. https://www.aafa.org/allergy-symptoms/. Accessed July 2019
  2. Wickman M. When allergies complicate allergies. Allergy. 2005;60(Suppl 79):14–18.
  3. Burbach GJ, et al. GA2 LEN skin test study II: clinical relevance of inhalant allergen sensitizations in Europe. Allergy. 2009;64:1507-15.