Your immune system creates antibodies to fight off foreign substances. Sometimes it may identify a substance that is dangerous, even though it’s not, and attempt to fight it. When this happens, you’re having an allergic reaction to an allergen. Minor allergic reactions often occur to substances like pet dander or dust mite waste. Other allergic reactions include hay fever, as well as reactions to insect stings, certain foods and molds.
The causes of minor allergic reactions in people vary from person to person. Here are a few allergens that can cause the body to react.
- Animals—dust mite waste, pet dander, bed bugs, insect stings or bites
- Foods—wheat, nuts, shellfish, milk, eggs
- Drugs—sulfa drugs, penicillin
- Mold—airborne spores from mold
- Plants—pollens from weeds, grass, and trees; resin from poison ivy and poison oak
- Water or shampoo trapped in the ear
- Latex, metals
Pet allergies are usually caused by cats and dogs from their fur, dander and saliva. Symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing and wheezing, tightness of the chest, watery, itchy, or red eyes and skin rash or hives. Reactions that become extreme may require a visit to a medical professional.
Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, can have symptoms like a cold. Those include runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and red and swollen eyes. Often times these symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications. If your allergic symptoms grow out of hand, though, seek medical attention.
Food allergies cause moderate to severe symptoms like hives, nausea, fatigue and gastrointestinal problems. People can sometimes go a long time before realizing that they’re allergic to a particular food or foods. Some food allergies can be serious, so if you have an extreme reaction, get emergency medical help immediately.
A sure way to avoid allergic reactions is to avoid allergens whenever possible. But, since that’s never going to happen, there are some medicines available, both over-the-counter and prescription strength.
Should I go to Indigo?
MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care can help you control mild to moderate allergy symptoms, often by prescribing antihistamines. Other medicines that may also be prescribed are corticosteroids, cromolyn sodium, leukotriene modifiers and decongestants to combat the uncomfortable symptoms.
If you are having any of the following symptoms, it’s probably best if you visited your nearest emergency department:
- Difficulty or irregular breathing
- Coughing, wheezing, itchy throat or mouth
- Severe hives, itchiness, red bumps on skin, skin redness
- Lowered blood pressure, rapid pulse, heart palpitations, or dilated blood vessels
- Nausea, vomiting, chest discomfort or tightness, abdominal pain, and diarrhea
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, weakness, and fainting