Allergic Reactions: Symptoms, Types, and Causes
One of the world’s most prevalent chronic conditions is allergy. The symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction can go from sneezing, getting a rash and having swollen eyes, to life-threatening signs like difficulty breathing and even losing consciousness.
This all begins in your immune system when your body confuses a harmless substance to an invader. This substance, also known as the allergen, is a type of antigen that triggers allergic reactions that translate your body’s attempt to get rid of it, considering it a threat.
Patients with a certain type of allergy are generally prescribed over-the-counter medication to help reduce the severity of the symptoms. However, if you find that you have an allergic reaction and could identify the trigger, it is better to avoid it once and for all. This will keep your body safe and relieve it from trying to resist and otherwise naturally harmless particles.
Hypersensitivity reactions: Symptoms
Knowing the symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction will allow you to take the necessary measures by yourself before the situation and gets to the point where it requires urgent medical intervention.
The symptoms of allergic reactions vary depending on each type of allergy, as you will discover below. However, there are common symptoms that all these types seem to share.
According to the U.K National Health Service, the mild symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions may include:
· Itchiness and sneezing
· Difficulty breathing, cough, and wheezing
· Swollen eyes, lips, face, or tongue
· Nausea and stomach pain
In some cases, an allergic reaction might lead to severe symptoms, that is when the hypersensitivity becomes critical and more dangerous, even life-threatening. In this matter, and according to the same source, the common symptoms can include:
· Tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing
· Blue lips or skin
· Swollen lips and throat
· Loss of consciousness and collapsing
These symptoms may take minutes to a few hours to come on over. They indicate a dangerous allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, and it necessitates immediate medical intervention, as it may cause death.
Anaphylaxis is primarily treated with injectable medication or stings, such as an ‘epinephrine injection into the muscle, intravenous fluids, and laying the person flat.’
Allergic Reactions: Types and Causes
Even though allergic reactions generally have some symptoms in common, there are other symptoms specific to each type of allergic reaction, depending on its causes as well.
The following are the main types of allergic reactions:
- Respiratory allergies: respiratory allergies are caused by particles that are inhaled. As soon as those particles are in your airway, they will be considered as invaders and will start causing inflammation, along with other symptoms such as a runny and/or itchy nose, swollen eyes, and sneezing.
- Skin allergies: skin allergies are the result of an allergen in contact with your skin. This can lead to skin irritation, itchiness, bumps, and redness, either in the spot or on different parts of the body.
- Food allergies: food allergies are caused by substances contained in the food that triggers an allergic reaction in your body, thus making you suffer from digestive problems, swelling in the mouth and lips, hives, and might even lead to anaphylaxis.
- Drug allergies: drug allergies are related to abnormal reactions your body makes when it interacts with certain medications, provoking a series of symptoms. These can include rash, face swelling, wheezing, and may generate anaphylaxis as well.
- Insect sting allergies: as its name suggests, this type of allergy comes from the stings of several insects like honeybees and hornets. The symptoms usually include pain in the area, redness, itching, and less commonly anaphylaxis. These symptoms are mostly treated with allergy shots (through immunotherapy), or epinephrine for severe symptoms.
Allergies are some of the most common chronic conditions, but we know that this does not make it any easier to handle. This is why we recommend you take the necessary measures to prevent it, by tracking the triggers that cause it and avoiding them.