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, 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 gives rise to symptoms involving the stomach and the intestinal tract. It can cause stomach pain and/or loose motions.
If you suffer from the frequent such symptoms, you want to know if it is an allergy or something else that is causing them. There are diagnostic tests that can do that and accordingly the doctor initiates treatment and advises certain restrictions.
If it is an allergy, you want to know what is causing those allergy problems because these frequent allergy occurrences can be quite a pain.
Once identified, you can avoid that allergen and stop the allergy from occurring again. But, first, you have to identify the allergen. All you have to do is note the characteristics of the hypersensitivity symptoms and correlate them 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 usually affect three systems of the body and each presents differently.
- Symptoms of skin allergy are itching and skin rashes.
- Respiratory tract allergy causes symptoms such as nasal (congestion) or lung (cough) symptoms
- Symptoms of digestive tract allergy manifest as stomach pain or diarrhea caused by ingestion of certain foods and drugs
- Eye allergy symptoms include redness of the eyes, itching, burning, and watering of the eyes
- In severe cases, an allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock involves symptoms of all the above and also includes those of the cardiovascular system.
Skin allergy symptoms
Skin allergy symptoms 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 symptoms include:
- 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 allergies due to food or drug. The common skin allergens are explained in allergy causes linked above. The most common allergens that cause such skin manifestations include foods, medications, insect bites, and infections. The most common foods that cause hives are nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, fresh berries, and milk.
- Contact dermatitis or contact rashes. As the name suggests, this is a skin allergy due to direct skin contact. It could happen with certain plants like Poison ivy, some chemicals in soap, lotion, or sunscreen, metals such as nickel, latex, etc. They are reddish bumps, which are raised, localized, and very itchy. These bumps look red and are tender and warm to the touch. Some particles floating in the air, such as pollen, can also cause “airborne contact dermatitis” when they come in contact with the skin.
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis. In this skin condition, the skin develops scales. Eczema causes itching and pain. If infected, a purulent discharge may be present. It is caused by food allergy caused mostly by 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.
Respiratory symptoms of allergy
A respiratory allergy occurs mainly due to the inhalation of dust, gases, or toxic fumes. It can also occur due to changes in climate occurring more commonly during cold and humid climates.
- Allergic rhinitis (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.
- Bronchial asthma. Asthma 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 this results in shortness of breath. The breathing becomes noisy and there is associated cough with mucus. The narrowing of the airways and the resultant 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.
- Allergic sinusitis. Allergic sinusitis is caused by the inflammation of the nasal sinuses and the formation of mucus in them. Symptoms include a blocked nose, headache, and fever.
Symptoms of food allergy
Symptoms of food allergy come about due to the consumption of certain foods and medicines. Such common foods which are responsible for food allergy are:
- tree nuts
- Abdominal pain.
- Abdominal or stomach cramps.
Anaphylactic shock is caused by the 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 the respiratory tract, skin, and digestive tract with 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 a bee. Other causes include the 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:
- Skin rash
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe shortness of breath
- Tightness and pain in the chest
- Fall in blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness