What are common symptoms of an allergy?
Allergy symptoms can be mild or severe and include:
- Breathing problems, coughing, sneezing or a runny nose
- Burning, watering, itchy or swollen eyes
- Itchy skin, hives or rashes
- Abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting or diarrhea (6)
How do I know if I have an allergy?
The way to find out if you have an allergy is by talking with your healthcare provider about your symptoms. Your healthcare provider can use that information along with medical test results to find out if you have an allergy. Once you know what type of allergy you have, your doctor can advise you on the best way to prevent and treat it in the short and long term. Remember, the best way to deal with an allergy is to first consult your healthcare provider fora correct diagnosis. (7) Your pharmacist can also help you make product choices to treat allergy symptoms. The chart on the next page is a general guide to what your symptoms may mean and actions to take.
Action to Take
|Runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing during spring and fall.||Seasonal allergic rhinitis, known as hay fever, caused by an allergy to certain pollens in the air.||Try to avoid exposure to pollens or other triggers and use anti-allergy products to reduce your symptoms. (8)|
|Year-round runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing.||Year-round rhinitis, also known as hay fever, usually caused by indoor allergens from pets, mold or dust mites.||Try to avoid exposure to indoor allergens and use anti-allergy products. (9)
|A medication you used caused a rash or another unusual reaction.||A drug allergy or drug side effect.||Report the drug allergy or side effect to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Make sure to mention it when a new medication is prescribed. (10)|
|An allergic skin reaction from exposure to certain plants, such as poison ivy.||Contact dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin caused by direct contact with a chemical in these plants called urushiol.||Rinse the area right away with lukewarm water. Take cool showers, apply calamine lotion and talk to your pharmacist about over the counter products that can help relieve your skin inflammation. (11)|
|A reaction to a certain food or foods.||Food allergies. The most common are caused by milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.||Avoid the foods that are causing your allergic reaction. Also, people who have a severe allergy to chicken or eggs should talk to their healthcare provider about whether or not to get a flu shot. (12-13)|