According to statistics in the United States, about 55 percent of the population has some form of allergy, making it the fifth most common condition in the country. These numbers are just a small taste of the world allergy pandemic that has spread in past years, with more and more individuals discovering that they are allergic to a certain element in their surroundings.
So how can you know if you have an allergy? Here are 10 tell-tale signs that you may have an allergy and should consult a specialist for testing.
First off, it is important to know that allergies can be a response to a wide range of elements. These are some of the most common:
Food Allergies: This is one of the most common allergies, especially in childhood, and it is important to identify them early on because some of them can be serious and even deadly. The most common foods people are allergic to are: nuts, certain fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, and other animal products, and finally, gluten.
Seasonal Allergies: By far the most common allergy, but also one of the less damaging in terms of its effects. Hay fever is the most common symptom, and according to U.S. statistics, over 4 million workdays are lost each year due to the effects of seasonal allergies. They occur during changes in seasons and as a result of quick change in climate.
Pet Allergies: This allergy is commonly to dog and cat fur, which can cause serious symptoms like wheezing, itching, tearing of the eyes, and rashes. Many individuals are allergic to their pets and may not even know it.
Plant Allergies: These are a less common form of allergy, which usually is a reaction to the pollen that plants give off. Some of the most common plants people are allergic to are ragweed, cedar trees, some forms of grass, as well as pigweed heavy in pollen.
Allergies to Chemicals: There's no doubt that this allergy makes sense. Every year, more and more people become allergic to certain beauty products, cleaning materials and even processed foods due to the industrial chemicals that are added to them.
10 Allergy Indicating Symptoms
1. A Runny Nose
When your nose starts to run uncontrollably you either have a cold, or have an allergy. The difference between how you feel when you've come down with a cold, and how you feel when you have an allergy is usually noticeable in that with an allergy you will experience constant sneezing, while with a cold it is more controlled. You may also begin to experience what is called 'post nasal drip', which means the liquid in your sinuses drips down your windpipe, causing an annoying itching feeling in the back of your throat. If children experience this symptom in the spring or fall, it is usually a good sign that they have seasonal allergies and it is recommended to contact a doctor for proper testing and care.
2. Under-Eye Bags
When you get dark circles under your eyes regardless of how long you sleep at night, this is a good sign that you may have an allergy. Usually, the dark circles are accompanied by red, itchy and watering eyes. Many of these symptoms can be relieved with a good dose of antihistamines, but if the symptoms still remain, it is important to consult a doctor to see if they allergy may be more serious.
3. Chronic Congestion
If your sinuses are congested on a regular basis, meaning longer than just the duration of a common cold, this could be a sign that you have seasonal, plant or animal related allergies. During allergic reactions to these triggers, the lining of the nasal passage can swell and produce extra mucus that leaves your nose feeling blocked. This blockage can cause painful sinus pressure between your brows or headaches. While decongestants can provide you with short-term relief, it is best to, once again, consult an allergist to see if there is a better solution for the long-run.
One of the most common allergy symptoms, the act of wheezing, or feeling short of breath, can also be a symptom of a more serious condition known as asthma. However, if you don't have a history of asthma, it is worthwhile to consider that you may have an allergy to your surroundings. Wheezing is characterized by a whistling sound when you breathe, which is caused by the narrowing of your airways. Wheezing can be very serious, especially if you are physically active on a regular basis, and if you have this symptom, you should contact a health professional or allergist immediately.
5. Itchy Skin
Although itching may be a sign of dry skin, when it doesn't leave you after applying lotions and other creams, it is most likely that this is a sign of some form of allergy. Itchy skin is a reaction known as eczema, usually resulting in small red bumps on the skin that are itchy and irritating. Eczema can be a reaction to soaps, detergents, pets, certain foods and other materials. A short-term solution is to take an antihistamine or apply a chamomile moisturizer that will soothe the skin. For stronger solutions, it is worthwhile asking your doctor for a hydrocortisone prescription or other medications.
Hives are never a good sign. Hives are red patches on the skin that usually itch or even hurt and can last anywhere from several hours to several days. They can be the result of an allergic reaction to certain foods, medications or even insect bites, but once you get them, it is imperative to treat them. An antihistamine will give you relief in the meantime, but if they return, you may need more thorough treatment, like steroids.
This is one of the dreaded conditions of mankind, but you may not know that it can also be a sign that you are allergic. Usually, allergy-related insomnia is the result of constant sneezy, itching, couching, or wheezing that will keep you up and make it hard to fall asleep. This is the point when you can start to go crazy over your allergies!
8. Trouble Concentrating
While many have trouble concentrating as it is without allergies, those with an allergy can suffer from attention disorders as a result of their bothersome symptoms or the medication they take. If you feel that your personal or professional life is being affected by your allergies, it is recommended to contact your doctor and discuss other available options for treatment besides antihistamine medications.
Either you can't sleep at all, or you sleep too much. Fatigue as it is related to allergies can be the result of your insomnia and not sleeping enough at night, or the effect of the medicine. The allergies themselves can also cause fatigue, a common symptom for those with food or pet related allergies. Try purchasing the antihistamines that are non-drowsy, and if they still don't work, consult your doctor for further help and testing.
Believe it or not, allergies can really take over your life. If they are not cared for, they can make you sleepless, tired, hungry, angry and eventually depressed. Recent research points to a connection between allergies and extreme mood changes, like depression, and this time its most likely not the medication's thought.
Although some of these symptoms are more prominent in certain locations rather than others, it is good to know what having an allergy can look like so, in the case that you have one, you can receive the proper treatment as swiftly as possible.
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