Allergies are common these days — the frequently changing weather conditions and many contaminants trigger exaggerated immune responses in different individuals. There are also some people who develop an allergy to a certain allergen only later in life. While symptoms of an allergic response may sometimes resemble other conditions, a good clue about it is the timing. It may recur during particular periods in a year or even times in a day. The reaction may happen a few minutes after contact with the allergen or may also be delayed for a few hours, and it could persist for several days to weeks. Symptoms that one should watch out for are as follows:
- Itchy, watery eyes – This is usually the first symptom that a person with an allergic reaction experiences. It happens before the swelling of the area around the eyes and lips.
- Sneezing, itchy or congested nose – This is also one of the first symptoms. Watch out for difficulty in breathing.
- Rashes – These may be raised or itchy. Scratching may worsen the symptom. Applying aloe vera or calamine may soothe these.
- Swelling –This happens in the face or even along the airways due to activation of inflammatory cells and mediators.
- Nausea – Hypersensitivity of the gut may render it hyperactive and cause this symptom.
- Diarrhea – Certain foods may irritate the bowels and induce this.
- Cough – This is a sign that the airway may be inflamed and total obstruction of air passages should be watched out for.
- Shortness of breath – This is another sign of hyperreactive airways.
- Headache – An uncommon symptom, but can also be present. This might be due to the hypermetabolic state or inflammation of blood vessels.
- Fatigue – This symptom may go with feeling feverish and may be due to the release of some chemicals related to the allergic reaction.
Avoiding the triggers are the best thing to control allergies but prompt management is also needed, should an exacerbation be underway. Antihistamines or steroidal preparations is the prescribed medical treatment. Loss of consciousness, difficulty in breathing, and pale and cold appearance are serious symptoms that require emergency medical management.