Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Allergies are exaggerated immune responses to environmental triggers known as allergens. Allergies are very common, and about 50 million people in North America suffer from allergies. One of the most common forms of allergy is allergic rhinitis ("hay fever"), which produces symptoms like
- nasal congestion,
- itchy and watery eyes,
- stuffy or runny nose,
- scratchy or sore throat,
- throat clearing,
- cough from postnasal drip.
The symptoms of hay fever can, in turn, lead to fatigue and lethargy. Other types of allergic reactions can involve the skin (hives and itching). Anaphylactic shock is a severe form of allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. In anaphylactic shock, there is swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing. Asthma is also related to allergies in many cases.
The symptoms of allergies can sometimes resemble those of other conditions. The common cold and the flu can cause respiratory symptoms similar to allergies. Typically, allergy symptoms are associated with a specific time of year or exposure to an allergen.
A review of our Patient Comments indicated that many people with allergies have similar symptoms and signs. Oftentimes, an allergy attack began with itchy eyes followed by facial swelling, particularly of the eyes and lips. Some patients mentioned that the itchiness occurred all over their bodies, and sometimes they developed hives. Several people indicated that their symptoms felt flu-like, in that they experienced coughing, fatigue, and the sensation that they had a fever. Read on to learn more about allergy symptoms in our Patient Comments.
WebMD.com. Allergy Types.
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
10 Worst Cities for Spring Allergies With Pictures
See pictures of the top 10 "spring allergy capitals", according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). From...
Allergies Quiz: Symptoms & Home Remedies
What are the causes of allergies? This online quiz challenges your knowledge of common food and household allergens,...
Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system where the body's defenses react to substances such as pollen, food and more....
Home Allergy Quiz: Is Your Home Allergy-Proof?
Take this home allergy quiz and test your knowledge on allergens, dust mites, pollens and more to see how allergy-proof your home...
Nasal Allergy Attack: Causes, Triggers, Treatments
What causes allergies? What are your allergy triggers? Discover how allergies work, why our bodies react to them, whether...
Nasal Irrigation: Natural Relief for Cold & Allergy Symptoms
Nasal irrigation can relieve sinus symptoms associated with colds & allergies. Learn how nasal irrigation can help unclog sinuses...
Out-of-Control Allergy Symptoms: Treatment Relief in Pictures
Learn 10 signs your allergies are out of control. See these surprising allergy symptoms and find out how to get relief for...
Picture of Eye Allergies
Severe allergic eye symptoms can be very distressing and are a common reason for visits to the allergist or ophthalmologist. See...
Pictures of Allergy Relief Tips at Home: AC Filters, Electronic Air Cleaners, and More
Learn how a combination of medication, preventing allergens, and allergy relief products can reduce allergy symptoms and help you...
The Most Common Food Allergies for Kids and Adults
What common food allergens cause the most problems for adults and children? See this list of common food allergies and learn to...
When Animal (Allergies) Attack: Pet Allergy Symptoms, Treatment
How do you control and relieve pet allergies? How do you prevent pet allergies? Learn dog and cat allergy symptoms, the cause of...
Allergy Symptoms and Signs
Examples of Medications for Allergy
- azelastine hydrochloride and fluticasone propionate (Dymista)
- cetirizine, Zyrtec, Zyrtec Allergy, Zyrtec Hives
- Claritin (loratadine) vs. Zyrtec (cetirizine)
- diphenhydramine, Benadryl
- fexofenadine, Allegra, Allegra Allergy, Allegra Hives, Children's Allegra, Mucinex Allergy
- loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Alavert Allergy & Sinus, Claritin-D, Claritin-D 24 hour)
- loratadine, Claritin, Claritin RediTabs, Alavert, Claritin Hives Relief, Children's Claritin
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Allergy and Asthma Newsletter