The Most Common Symptoms for Seasonal Allergies, Food Allergies & More

News Picture: The Most Common Symptoms for Seasonal Allergies, Food Allergies & MoreBy Meredith Morckel HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, May 22, 2023 (HealthDay News)

Maybe you can't weed your garden without sneezing. Perhaps your eyes start watering when you clean your home. Did your skin begin itching last night during dinner?

You may have an allergy, but you're not alone. More than 50 million adults and children in the United States have a bad reaction to pollen, dust, mold, pet dander and other common allergens, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI).

What are allergies (allergic reactions)?

An allergy is your body's reaction to an allergen such as pollen, mold and more. Pollen causes a pollen allergy and mold causes a mold allergy.

It's your immune system that reacts. It is very important because it protects you from germs and viruses, but sometimes it gets confused. “Most people don't have an immune response to pollen, but a certain percentage of people's immune systems see it as foreign and dangerous, and they treat it like a pathogen or infection,” said Dr. Christina Price, an allergist and immunologist at Yale Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

How your body treats allergens

When your immune system decides that something might hurt you, it fights back. This fight triggers those miserable symptoms like shortness of breath, hives, sneezing and itching, the ACAAI explains. In other words, while trying to protect you, your body accidentally causes harm.

The most common allergy symptoms

Be aware of the different types of allergies and talk about them with your health care provider. He or she needs to know what symptoms you're experiencing to figure out the type of allergy you have (and how to help you cope).

Seasonal allergies and symptoms

A seasonal allergy (allergic rhinitis) is one that happens only during a certain time of year (summer, fall, winter or spring). Yale Medicine notes that the most common seasonal allergens are grass pollen, tree pollen, mold and ragweed. The most common symptom of seasonal and pollen allergy include:

Some seasonal allergies have been worse in recent years, according to Dr. Stephanie Leeds, a pediatric allergist at Yale Medicine.

“With climate change, the general trend has been that we're getting higher levels of pollen and longer pollen seasons, whether that's due to warmer temperatures or increased carbon dioxide emissions," she said. "It's probably multifactorial.”

Perennial allergies and symptoms

A perennial allergy can happen during any season of the year. The most common perennial allergens are pet hair and dander, dust mites, cockroaches and molds, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Cat and dog allergies


Common Allergies: Symptoms and Signs See Slideshow

Cat allergy symptoms and dog allergy symptoms are likely to include the following, according to ACAAI:

There are easy ways to avoid pet allergies. But, getting away from the fur and dander may be more complicated than you expect.

“If you remove a cat from a home, you clean all the walls down, do the laundry, do the draperies, it still takes six months for the level of cat protein to get down to normal,” said allergist Dr. Warner Carr, an allergist at Children's Hospital of Orange County Mission Hospital in Orange, Calif.

Mold allergy symptoms

Mold allergy symptoms, according to ACAAI, are likely to include:

  • Congestion (fluid in your nose)
  • Coughing
  • Irritated eyes
  • Itchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing (you'll hear a rattle or whistle when you breathe)

Food allergy symptoms

The most common food allergens include gluten, egg and milk. You can also be allergic to shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans and wheat, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, gluten allergy symptoms (gluten intolerance) are likely to include:

According to Mayo Clinic, egg allergy symptoms are likely to include:

According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of allergy to milk and other dairy products are likely to include:

  • Abdominal (tummy) cramps
  • Colic (babies only)
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea (you may see blood)
  • Hives (bumps or red marks on your skin)
  • Itching around your mouth, lips
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in your throat, lips tongue
  • Tingling around your mouth, lips
  • Vomiting
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing

No matter how long your allergy lasts or how bad it gets, know that you don't have to just live with the symptoms.

"Some people have a couple of weeks when they are miserable, and then the rest of the year they are fine, so they think they'll just grin and bear it," Leeds said. "But there is a better way. You can take steps to minimize those weeks of misery.” Discuss your symptoms with your health care provider.

If you think you're having an allergic reaction, Mayo Clinic urges you to call emergency services or go to the emergency department right away if you experience any of the following life-threatening symptoms:

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