The range of symptoms associated with common allergies is as vast as the types of allergic reactions themselves. Nevertheless, several are common. Identifying them correctly is the first step to proper treatment. A number of airborne allergens, such as pollen or certain mold spores, tend to produce certain symptoms.
Conjunctivitis is an all too familiar condition that accompanies several allergies. It involves a swelling and redness of the conjunctiva or membrane lining the eyelid. The result is typically watery, itchy eyes. Regrettably, scratching them only tends to make the condition worse.
Allergic rhinitis, an inflammation of the nasal passages, is another familiar symptom to allergy sufferers. Characteristics include swelling of the mucous membranes, which is often accompanied by a nasal discharge – In short, a runny nose. However, more than just leaking thick fluid, the swelling can lead to tenderness and pain. Congestion and difficulty breathing can also occur.
Although it is similar to having a cold, the symptoms tend to persist for longer than a few days. The underlying cause is fundamentally different, as well. A virus produces a cold whereas the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are caused by an immune system reaction to an allergen which is often dust mite waste, animal dander or pollen.
Excess sneezing is both a separate symptom and often a result of allergic rhinitis. It, in turn, tends to produce and reinforce other symptoms. Histamines are released by a sneeze. They lead to the production of watery eyes and further runny nose. If the sneezing persists, an ache in the lungs and facial pain can result. In extreme cases, back pain can result from the mechanical action of the sneeze.
One or more result of all these can be sleeplessness and subsequent fatigue. Congestion, runny nose and general discomfort can make it hard to relax enough to fall asleep. Lack of rest leads to fatigue.
Wheeziness is a result of mild asthma, itself an allergic reaction. That is a consequence of the bronchial sacs becoming filled with fluid, similar to the way nasal membranes can. The inflammation makes tissues less efficient at absorbing and transporting oxygen, which results in shortness of breath. Thus, an allergy sufferer can see a cascade of interlocking symptoms.
Other symptoms are more common with food allergies.
A skin rash, itching, hives (red welts) or eczema, is often experienced by those sensitive to peanuts, shellfish and other foods. The lips or tongue may swell. Abdominal pain or diarrhea is typical. Even dizziness or fainting is far from unknown.
All symptoms of common allergies are essentially an immune system overreaction to an allergen, usually in the environment. However, there are genetic factors that predispose a person to allergies.
Merely having one or more of the common allergies symptoms described above does not necessarily indicate the presence of an allergy. Nevertheless, when they persist for more than two weeks, it is appropriate to seek a professional diagnosis.