How Do Allergy Reactions Look? Understand The Symptoms and Signs

The type of allergy symptoms depends on which system of your body has been affected by the allergy reaction. It also depends on what substance has caused the allergic reaction (the allergen).

This post describes the different types of symptoms and signs caused by intolerance to the allergy substances. The previous post describes what common substances cause the different kinds of allergies.

You could suffer from skin allergy symptoms, which could give rise to skin rashes on the face or anywhere on the body or even the whole body.

You could suffer from respiratory allergy symptoms wherein the allergic reaction involves the nose, or the throat or the lungs, which can give rise to a running or blocked nose, sore throat or cough.

You could even be a victim of food allergy, which occurs due to some foods you have eaten. This involves symptoms involving the stomach and the intestinal tract. It can cause stomach pain and/or loose motions.

If you suffer from frequent occurrence of such symptoms, you want to know if it is allergy or something else that is causing them.

If it is allergy, you want to know what is causing those allergy problems ‘cause these frequent allergy occurrences can be quite a pain.

Once identified, you can avoid that allergen and stop the allergy from occurring. But, first you have to identify the allergen. All you have to do is note the characteristics of the hypersensitivity symptoms and correlate with what you have eaten or where you have been in the last 6 to 8 hours. This post will help you do that.

  • Symptoms of allergy are seen affecting usually three systems of the body and each presents differently Symptoms of skin allergy such as itching and skin rashes.
  • Symptoms of respiratory tract allergy such as nasal (congestion) or lung (cough) symptoms
  • Symptoms of digestive tract allergy such as stomach pain or diarrhea caused by ingestion of certain foods and drugs
  • Eye allergy symptoms such as redness, itching, burning and watering of the eyes
  • In severe case, an allergic  reaction called anaphylactic shock  involves symptoms of all the above and also includes those of the cardiovascular system.

Symptoms of Allergies

1) How do Skin Allergy Symptoms look?

Skin allergy presents symptoms, which appear as rashes or reddish bumps or scales on the skin.  A rash is a visible change in the texture or color of the skin, which causes the skin to become itchy, bumpy, and scaly.

These skin rashes can be restricted to a small portion of the skin such as the face or can affect the entire body. Skin rash occurs due to contact of the skin with an allergen or due to ingestion of an allergen.

The different types of skin allergy appearing symptoms include:

a) Skin rash or urticaria also called hives

Skin rash or Hives appear as reddish spots on the skin. They are red, raised localized patches or may be seen over a wider area of the body. They are extremely itchy. They are caused by skin contact with an allergen. They can also be caused by food allergy or drug allergy. The common skin allergens are explained in allergy causes linked above.

b) Contact dermatitis or contact rashes

As the name suggests, this is a skin allergy due to skin contact with certain plants like Poison ivy, s0me chemicals , metals, latex, etc. They are reddish bumps, which are raised, localized and very itchy.  These bumps look red, and are tender and warm to touch.

c) Eczema also called atopic dermatitis

In this skin condition, the skin develops scales. Eczema causes itching and pain. If infected, purulent discharge may be present. It is due to food allergy which comes due to eating foods like fish, eggs and milk. Its location is usually on the knees and elbows. It is very chronic and usually, treatment is only symptomatic as it is difficult to treat.

2) Respiratory Symptoms of Allergy

Respiratory allergy occurs mainly due to inhalation of dust, gases or toxic fumes. It can also occur due to change of climate occurring more commonly during the cold and humid climate.

a) Allergic Rhinitis (also called Hay fever)

This is the most common type of allergy. Allergic rhinitis symptoms include sneezing, running nose, sore throat, cough, redness and itching of the eyes. Fatigue may also be present.

b) Bronchial Asthma

This allergic reaction results due to the narrowing of the bronchi (airways in the lungs). This narrowing is called bronchoconstriction. Due to this narrowing, enough air does not reach into the lungs and these results in shortness of breath. The breathing becomes noisy and there is associated cough with mucus.

The  narrowing of the airways and the resultant bronchial asthma onset is caused by inhalation of allergic substances in the air such as dust, pollen, perfumes, etc. It is seen more during the humid and cold climatic conditions..

c) Allergic sinusitis.

Allergic sinusitis is caused due to the inflammation of the nasal sinuses and formation of mucus in them. Symptoms include a blocked nose, headache and fever.

3) Symptoms of Food Allergy

Symptoms of food allergy come about due to consumption of certain foods and medicines. Such common foods which are responsible for allergy are mentioned in causes.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Flatulence.
  • Abdominal or stomach  cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.

4) Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic shock is caused by injection of a medication into the body. All people may not be allergic to the medicine. The most common medicine, which may give rise to this allergic reaction is Penicillin.

Anaphylactic shock symptoms spread across all systems including respiratory tract, skin , digestive tract with an additional involvement of the cardiovascular system. Symptoms are , however, more severe.  Death can result if not treated promptly.

A less severe reaction of this sort may also be caused by the sting of an insect like the bee. Other causes include consumption of peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, and cashews), wheat (usually in children), fish, shellfish, milk and eggs.

The following anaphylactic symptoms will be seen:

  • Sweating
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Tightness and pain in the chest
  • Fall in blood pressure
  • Edema
  • Loss of consciousness

 

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