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HEENT is the medical abbreviation for head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat—all things commonly affected by allergies. Sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose are very common—most people will experience these symptoms at some point in their life. You can have these types of symptoms at any age, but it may not be easy to know why. Is it a common cold, an irritant (like cigarette smoke or perfume) or is it an allergy?
The common cold and allergies share many of the same symptoms affecting the head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat, including:
There can be many similarities between allergy and cold symptoms, making it difficult to tell the difference between the two. They are both common conditions that affect the HEENT. Here are a few key differences between a cold and an allergy:
A common cold and allergy both cause your immune system to react in a similar way. However, a reaction to a cold is because of a virus and an allergic reaction is your body’s immune system reacting to a substance (allergen) that it sees as a threat. Some common allergens that could cause your head, eyes, ears, nose & throat symptoms include:
A virus or allergy that is affecting one of them may also impact the others, as they are all part of your upper respiratory system.
Learn more about what’s related to your head, eyes, ears, nose & throat symptoms:
Yes. Sore throats could potentially be caused by food allergies, although they could also be caused by an infection. Additionally, post nasal drip, often caused by hay fever, can cause inflammation of the throat. Consult your healthcare provider to help determine a proper treatment plan.2
Yes. While most people know the standard stuffy nose and itchy eyes as allergy symptoms, the ears can also be affected by allergens.3
When allergies are the cause of symptoms felt in the ears, it can feel like your ears are stuffy or clogged, or like pressure and/or pain. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and if allergies could be behind them.
Yes. Allergies can cause eyes to be red, itchy, or watery. The most common triggers of allergy symptoms affecting the eyes are found outdoors, such as grass, trees, or weeds.4
An itchy nose is a common symptom of allergies. Typical allergens that could cause an itchy nose include animal dander, dust mites, pollens, mold, and foods.
Red eyes are a common symptom of allergies, along with swollen or puffy eyes, and itchy or watery eyes.
The head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat are all interconnected. Allergy symptoms can affect both the ear and nose, and often times the symptoms felt in those areas are connected.
Yes. Common allergy symptoms affecting the head include headaches, sinus pressure or pain, and breathing through the mouth.