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Allergic Reactions

What Can Cause An Allergic Reaction?

What can cause an allergic reaction depends on a person’s immune system. Substances known as allergens create reactions when they are either inhaled, ingested, or touched.

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakes these typically benign substances as a threat. The body makes antibodies in response, much the way it would when confronted with harmful bacteria or viruses.

Common Allergens Include:

  • Bee stings and insect bites
  • Certain medications, such as aspirin and penicillin
  • Foods, like nuts and shellfish
  • Pet dander
  • Plants
  • Pollen
  • Molds

What Are Different Types Of Allergic Reactions?

Types of allergic reactions vary based on the allergens involved. Some types of allergic reactions are mild, affecting only one body system, while others can involve multiple systems.

It’s important to note, however, that one mild reaction is no indication that future reactions will be equally mild. This is why it’s important to have any allergic reaction properly evaluated by a medical provider.

Signs & Symptoms of Allergic Reactions

There are many different types of allergic reactions. Depending on the allergen, your body may respond with inflammation of the skin, airways, or digestive system. For example, insect stings can sometimes cause allergy cough symptoms.

The severity of a reaction may range from a mild reaction to anaphylaxis, a serious and possibly life-threatening emergency.

Common Insect Sting Reactions Can Include:

  • Edema, an enlarged area of swelling around the sting site
  • Itching and hives 
  • Coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis

Medication Allergy Symptoms Can Include:

  • Facial swelling
  • Hives 
  • Itchy skin
  • Rash
  • Wheezing
  • Anaphylaxis

In General, Signs Of Food Allergies Can Include:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and face
  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Nausea

What Are The Symptoms Of Seasonal Allergies?

To determine whether you have seasonal allergies versus what may be just a common cold, your MD Now provider will consider the time of year, along with your current and past medical history. Seasonal allergies typically occur during the fall, spring, and summer, when mold spores and pollen counts are at their highest.

Similar to a Cold Or Flu, Symptoms Can Include:

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy throat, sinuses, or ear canals
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sneezing
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Ear fullness

How Do You Detect Allergy Symptoms in Kids?

Allergy symptoms in kids include sneezing, sniffling, runny noses, and watery eyes. However, these can also indicate other concerns. What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies in kids? If your child gets the same cold-like symptoms at the same time every year, he or she may be suffering from seasonal allergies. Your MD Now provider can make a proper asthma, allergy, or respiratory diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment to control symptoms.

Other allergies in kids, such as those involving foods, medicine, or insect stings, may require skin or blood testing for a proper diagnosis. If necessary, your MD Now provider will refer you to the appropriate allergy specialist.


What Are Food Allergy Symptoms That Must Be Treated?

Some allergies, such as those caused by food, can trigger a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening medical emergency that can cause you to go into shock. If you’re experiencing symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Use an epinephrine auto-injector such as an EpiPen or Auvi-Q, if available, while you wait for help. Even if symptoms improve after the injection, you should still seek immediate medical help to ensure that the symptoms don’t return once the injection wears off.


Signs Of Anaphylaxis Include:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness

What Do You Do If You Have Medication Allergy Symptoms?

Drug allergies are different from an adverse drug reaction. Although rare, they are a hypersensitive reaction of the immune system. If you have an allergic reaction after starting a new medication, contact the prescribing provider right away.

The content provided on the MD Now website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for receiving medical care and treatment from a qualified healthcare provider. Never delay seeking advice, evaluation, and treatment from a medical professional because of what you’ve read on this site, since the information provided may not apply to you or your symptoms.