What Are the Symptoms of an Allergy?
There are a wide range of allergy symptoms, ranging from mild to severe reactions.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction typically develop within a few minutes after you are exposed to an allergen, but sometimes symptoms can slowly appear after a few hours of being exposed to something you’re allergic to. While most allergic reactions are an annoyance, most are mild.
Common Allergy Symptoms:
- Itchy, runny nose
- Nasal congestion and sneezing
- Red, itchy, dry eyes and watering eyes
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, a cough and chest tightness
- Swollen eyes or face
- Itchy, red rash, irritated and raised bumps (or hives)
- Swollen lips or tongue
- Stomach pain, feeling ill, experiencing vomiting or diarrhea
Only 8 Foods Are Responsible For 90% Of All Allergic Reactions
What Are the Most Common Allergies?
What triggers allergies is a long list. Most of us are aware of the common seasonal allergy triggers including pollen, ragweed, and cut grass. Despite the fact that 90% of allergic reactions are triggered from only 8 foods, there are still a large number of allergy triggers to be aware of.
Most Common Allergy Triggers:
- Airborne: These include dust, mold, pollen ragweed, animal dander and fresh cut grass.
- Food: The worst offenders are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts (which include walnuts), peanuts, wheat, and soybean.
- Insect Bites or Stings: Predominantly from a bee or wasp.
- Medications or Products: Medicines include penicillin, or penicillin-based antibiotics. Products can cause contact dermatitis, which results from your body becoming sensitized to an ingredient, or ingredients, in a product you are using. This is common for face and body products such as creams, cleansers and masks.
What Is the Best Treatment for Allergies?
Over the counter treatments will be the most widely available, and most accessible option. They include a variety of options, depending on your allergy symptoms. For seasonal allergies, there are some proven remedies that are sure to bring you relief. Corticosteroid nasal sprays and drops are often the best place to start. They are available either over the counter, or by prescription. Allergy eye drops are used to treat allergy symptoms that impact your eyes.
Treatment is the most effective if you can start a few weeks prior to the symptoms starting. It can also be helpful for big events such as a holiday or wedding, where a short course can help control your symptoms during that event.
There are other allergy treatments available for individuals who feel uncomfortable taking eye drops, or nasal sprays.
How Can I Make My Allergies Go Away? (7 Paths to Relief)
It is possible for your allergy to go away; however, there is no one cure. As you age, it is possible that the severity of your symptoms will fade, or you become more tolerant to the allergen. This happens because your immune function is reduced as you get older, which also means your immune response to allergens also becomes less intense.
1. Minimize Your Exposure to Allergy Triggers
This can be as simple as staying inside, or minimizing outside time on windy days. On windy days, allergens like pollen are more easily spread. In comparison, after a rainy day, the air has been cleared of some of the pollen.
2. Clean Clothing and Showers
Having a shower when you come in from outside and changing into clean clothing can help reduce bringing pollen and allergens into your home. Showers can have a big impact by removing allergy triggers that have collected on your hair and skin.
3. Wear a Mask
For the same reason masks help reduce the spread of COVID, masks can help ensure you don’t breath in allergens. Masks can be particularly helpful for those outside doing activities such as mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and gardening, which can disperse allergens into the air. Read about Medical Masks vs. Cloth Masks
4. Check Weather Forecasts
With allergy season being at its peak in spring and summer, news stations and weather outlets will often have pollen forecasts. This provides you an opportunity to plan around times when allergy triggers are at their highest, including preemptively taking medicine, closing doors & windows and showering routinely.
5. Clear Your Sinuses
A saline solution is a fast acting and cheap way to help relieve allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion. Popular solutions, such as the Neti Pot, are a small hand held squeeze bottle designed to flush out mucus and allergens from your nose.
This is a particularly helpful remedy for those who suffer from deviated septums. The saline solutions, and nasal sprays, can be used throughout the year to help flush out any build up of allergens, mucus or debris and can even help you avoid becoming sick if used regularly.
6. Clean Indoor Air
Removing all allergens from your home may not be possible, but there are many proven methods to reduce them. Common solutions include high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifiers, using air conditioners instead of opening your doors and windows to cool your home, and some select plants that purify the air.
7. Non-Prescription Medications
As previously mentioned, nasal sprays and drops are often the best place to start. Many are available over the counter. Steroid, or corticosteroid nasal sprays, are typically available over the counter and can provide vital relief for individuals with severe symptoms or who suffer from constant nasal congestion brought on by non-seasonal allergies or deviated septum’s. Other non-prescription medicines include:
- Antihistamines: Oral versions include brands such as Claritin or Allegra.
- Decongestants: You may be familiar with decongestants including Sudafed that aid with nasal congestion. See instructions and talk to your doctor, as long-term use and frequency needs to be prescribed.
- Combination medications: You may be prescribed a combination of both an antihistamine and a decongestant, such as Claritin-D.
Can Allergies Start Later in Life?
Yes, you can develop an allergy, or allergies, later in life. If you are experiencing any allergy symptoms, it is highly recommended you get tested. The test results will provide invaluable information which your medical practitioner can use to help provide the best treatment options.
For most, we outgrow allergies as we age. By the time we are in our 20s and 30s, we have built up a tolerance to common allergens such as milk, eggs, and grains. It is however not uncommon to develop an allergy later in life, even to foods and products (such as face creams and body products) we consume and use on a regular basis.