[dropcap1]I[/dropcap1]t is estimated that over 20% of Americans suffer from some form of allergies. Allergies stem from cells that react in a overt manner to substances that the body normally deems as harmless. Those normally harmless substances are known as allergens and exposure to these allergens can cause a full range of symptoms. In some instances exposure can even lead to a life-threatening situation. Informing yourself about the signs and symptoms of allergies can help alleviate pain and potential avoid life long problems.

signs and symptoms of allergies

Allergens can affect you anywhere

Allergic Rhinitis

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Allergic rhinitis (rye-nye-tiss) enlarges the interior lining of the nose. Potentially within minutes of inhaling an allergen, sneezing and congestion can take full effect. Especially during heightened seasons, such as the spring time, the symptoms can be relentless.

Allergic Rhinitis can be caused by:

1. Tress such as oak, elm, birch hickory and many more
2. Weeds including but not limited to ragweed, sagebrush and thistle
3. Grass
4. Interior and Exterior Mold
5. Dust mites and particles
6. Animal Dander

Allergic Conjunctivitis

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This allergic reaction most notably causes swelling in the eyelids which can potential cause tearing and itchy eyes. The common causes to allergic rhinitis can lead to a year round allergic conjunctivitis. It can be extremely irritable but allergic conjunctivitis is not a threat to your vision. It is safe to be aware of all the signs and symptoms of allergies no matter their threat level.

Eczema

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Eczema (egg-zah-mah) simply put is an irritating itchy rash. This rash can induced excessive scratching, which can just increase the annoyance and spread the rash. Eczema can be made worse by a person having allergies to:

1. Foods like dairy products, milk, eggs, soy, or peanuts
2. Airborne allergens like dust particles and pet dander

Hives

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Hives can be seen as a raised rash that is randomly spread over the body. Hives individually contain a red circle, and can potentially have a pale colored center. Their size will differ in every case and appear throughout the body in any location. Hives can be onset from food, medication or a sting from an insect. Also in many instances stress has been a reason that causes hives to worsen. Hives can disappear and reappear very quickly and are not associated to a true allergen.

Contact Dermatitis

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Contact dermatitis (dur-mah-tie-tiss) occurs when the exterior skin of your body comes in contact with an allergen. The most classic and predominate is poison ivy. Repeated exposure to an allergen can cause a reaction even if there was no prior issue. Multiple items can cause contact dermatitis to occur:

1. Rubber
2. Cosmetics
3. Poison ivy and oak
4. Sunscreen and lotions
5. Nickel
6. Topical antibiotics and creams

Angioedema

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Angioedema (an-jee-oh-eh-dee-mah) is the term that describes swelling of parts of the body. The main difference between this and hives in the location within the tissues. Angioedema is deeper within the tissues and normally is located near the eyes, lips or tongue. This allergy can be life threatening by blocking the air supply to ones body.

This can be onset by an allergic reaction to some foods, medications, or insect stings. Most persistency found in this type of reaction is not due to an individual allergy.

What are the Symptoms associated to Allergies?

There is a wide range of allergic reactions, from external hives, to interior swelling with each having its own unique set of symptoms. These are some of the most common:

1. Sneezing
2. Fever
3. Swelling
4. Rash
5. Itchy eyes
6. Congestion
7. Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis

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Anaphylaxis (an-ah-fah-lack-sis) is an allergic reaction that affects the body in a whole. It ranges from a very mild to life threatening situation. Symptoms can elevate to:

1. Vomiting and diarrhea
2. Inability to breath properly because of swelling
3. Low blood pressure which can result in fainting or shock

When should medical attention be found?

                              Call your doctor when:

1. You possess allergic symptoms outlined in this article
2. Stored bought medication has no affect on allergies
3. Your symptoms seem to be unique from any other cause

                    Seek emergency medical attention when:

1. You believe to be experiencing anaphylaxis
2. Breathing becomes hard or difficult
3. Bodily swelling has reached the point of causing breathing to be hampered

If medical attention is not sought?

Without consulting a medical professional you will suffer needlessly. A trained medical professional can assist in determined what is causing your allergic reaction to occur. You can also be informed on ways to minimize your potential for reaction and received necessary medication. In some severe cases not seeking emergency medical attention can result in permanent damage, even death.

What can I expect to happen with a doctor testing for allergies?

A doctor will need three things to happen to properly diagnose a potential allergic. Determine your symptoms, run a physical examination and tests.

YOUR allergy symptoms

Being detailed about the situation and possible triggers to your reaction and symptoms will aid largely in the diagnosis of your potential condition. Your doctor may ask:

1. Is there a certain time period that your reactions are limited too?
2. Are your allergies onset by something specific?
3. Did these problems start when you were a child?
4. Is there a history of similar problems within your family?
5. Where medications or prescriptions are you currently taking?

Skin Testing

Skin test are the most common test to determine and individuals allergies. A test can point out a particular sensitive to a food or animal product. A small, non threatening, amount of the potential allergen is introduced to your body where an reaction will occur quickly. To receive true results consult with your doctor about what medications need to be avoided prior to the examination.

False Positives can occur from Skin Testing

In some instances a test that reveals an allergy to a particular substance may not be causing the symptoms you are going through. You may potentially have some immune response to an allergen but the allergy may not be sever enough to cause symptoms. This is why speaking in depth with you doctor about your symptoms and history is extremely important.