Allergy symptoms include itchy eyes and skin, sneezing, nasal congestion, wheezing, and rash. Seasonal allergies result from grass, weed, tree pollen, or molds. Cat and dog dander allergies are common. Food allergies include peanut or milk.

What is an Allergy?

An allergy refers to an exaggerated reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. It is exaggerated because these foreign substances are usually seen by the body as harmless and no response occurs in non- allergic people. Allergic people’s bodies recognize the foreign substance and one part of the immune system is turned on. Allergy-producing substances are called “allergens.” Examples of allergens include pollen’s, dust mite, molds, dander’s, and foods. To understand the language of allergy it is important to remember that allergens are substances that are foreign to the body and can cause an allergic reaction in certain people.

What Happens During an Allergic Reaction?

It starts when you come into contact with a trigger that you inhale, swallow, or get on your skin. In response, your body starts to make a protein called IgE, which grabs onto the allergen. Then histamine and other chemicals get released into the blood. That causes the symptoms you notice.

What Are the Symptoms?

Your symptoms depend on how you’re exposed — through the air, your skin, food, or through an insect sting. If you’ve got a nasal or skin allergy, common symptoms include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, runny nose
  • Rashes
  • Feeling tired or ill
  • Hives (a rash with raised red patches)
Food allergies can also cause stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.