Signs of an Allergy Reaction

A person with an allergy or allergic reaction has a hyperactive immune system that is hypersensitive to certain substances. Allergens such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and peanuts can cause some people’s immune systems to release histamines into the bloodstream and tissues in response to contact with what it perceives as a threat. These chemicals cause localized inflammation and various symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. You may experience mild to severe symptoms depending on your allergy. If you have the symptoms below, you may want to visit Richard L. Nass, M.D., an allergist based in East Hampton.


Sneezing is often a sign of allergies such as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. This is caused by hay, pollen, dust mites, and animal dander in the air, which enter your body through inhalation. When you inhale allergens, they bind to the mast cells in your immune system. Mast cells then release histamines which cause nasal inflammation. This causes swelling of your sinuses and membranes, producing watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing.

Itchy Eyes

In addition to sneezing, itching eyes are a common sign of allergies. If you have an allergic reaction, your eyes may feel itchy and become red and puffy if they’re also producing watery tears. Itchy eyes are caused by hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis, or vernal keratoconjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction that causes the membranes of your eyelids and the covering of your eyeball to become swollen. This often leads to watery, itchy, and red eyes, which cause blurred vision.


Hives are raised, red, itchy areas of inflammation on the skin, most commonly caused by contact with an allergen. This most often occurs in rash-like patches but can also appear as swelling around your lips or eyes. A person may experience hives alone or in combination with other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and trouble breathing.


If you’re wheezing, it may be a sign of asthma. An asthma attack occurs when your airways become inflamed, which makes them swell and narrow. This causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing during inspiration. If you have allergies, the swelling of your mucus membranes can make it difficult for you to breathe.

Wheezing can also be caused by other respiratory ailments such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema. If you’re experiencing wheezing and breathing problems, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Facial Swelling

If you have an allergic reaction, your face may swell. This is especially common if you experience a severe reaction that can cause swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat. If this occurs, you must get medical attention immediately, as this can severely restrict your airway.

Stomach Upsets

It may be an allergic reaction if you experience stomach aches, diarrhea, and vomiting after ingesting certain foods. This is known as food allergy or food intolerance. A typical example of this is lactose intolerance which produces the same symptoms as allergies. It’s very uncommon for food to cause hay fever-like symptoms, which is why many people don’t realize they’re suffering from allergies.

In summary, allergies produce various symptoms that vary depending on severity. Some common symptoms of allergies include sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, facial swelling, and stomach upsets. Hives are also relatively common among people with allergies.

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