An allergy is a reaction of the body’s immune system to a foreign substance such as pollen, pet dander, or bee venom. The result is an inflammation of the skin, airways, sinuses, or digestive system.
The symptoms depend on the type of foreign substance triggering the reaction.
Hay fever, a reaction to pollen, may cause sneezing, a runny nose, watery or swollen eyes, and itching in the nose and throat.
A food allergy can cause tingling or itching in the mouth; hives; swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat; and a severe life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis (see below).
An allergic reaction to a bee sting or insect bite may include redness and swelling around the bite, hives all over the body, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis.
A drug allergy may cause hives, a rash, itching, facial swelling, wheezing, and anaphylaxis.
Dermatitis or eczema, an allergic skin condition, may cause itching ,reddened skin, and flaking or peeling.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that may include severe shortness of breath, fast pulse, nausea, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. Call 911 or seek emergency medical care immediately.
Allergies cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed with allergy medications. A doctor can help you identify the causes of your allergies so that you can avoid them. Allergen immunotherapy can lessen your immune system’s allergic reations.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. It is information that is generally available. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.