What are Allergies?
Allergies happen when a person's body reacts to substances that are harmless to other
people. These substances can make us sneeze, wheeze, cough, itch, or worse. Allergic
reactions can be bad and even deadly, but that is very rare. Most people with allergies have
annoying symptoms that can be controlled, and people with allergies can lead normal lives.
Anaphylaxis is a health emergency. Food, insect
stings, medicines, and latex can cause this in some
people. Symptoms include a sense of doom; warmth
or flush; swollen lips; faintness; and chest tightness.
These can progress into seizures, shock, heart, and
Allergic Asthma: Happens when an allergen
(a substance) causes asthma: coughing, wheezing,
shortness of breath, or chest tightness.
Drug Allergy: Reactions to medicines happen to
many people. Antibiotics, anti-convulsants, and
insulin are drugs that cause many allergic reactions.
Usually the reaction is a rash that goes away
when the medicine is stopped. You should see
your provider if you think this is happening to you.
Eye Allergy: Pollen and mold cause this a lot.
Signs are itchy and watery eyes.
Food Allergy: Symptoms can include itchy or
swelling lips or tongue, tightness of the throat
with hoarseness, throwing up, or passing out.
Latex Allergy: People who use latex products
daily are most at risk. Look for a red, itchy rash
(contact dermatitis), sneezing and other breathing
problems, and coughing.
Mold Allergy: Many people allergic to mold have
problems outdoors on days when mold spores are in
the air. You may also have allergies indoors if mold
is inside your home, school, or workplace. Problems
can include itchy eyes, sneezing, or runny nose.
Pet Allergy: It isn't your pet's fur that is the
problem. It is the protein in a pet's skin flakes,
spit, and pee. Problems usually include itchy eyes,
sneezing, or runny nose.
Rhinitis (Hay Fever): Pollen causes most seasonal
allergic rhinitis. People can get a stuffy or runny
nose, sneezing, itchy nose, and itching of the roof
of the mouth or ears.
Skin Allergy: Skin allergies (also called contact
dermatitis) happen when your skin comes in touch
with something it is sensitive or allergic to. Also,
allergies to other things like food or proteins you
breathe in may cause rashes. Signs are redness,
swelling, itching, and rashes; often due to poison
ivy, oak, and sumac.
Stinging Insect Allergy: Most of us get redness
and swelling at the site of an insect bite, but
people with an insect allergy are at risk for more
severe problems. There is often pain, itching, and
swelling at the sting site or over a larger area and
can cause anaphylaxis.
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