Understanding Allergies: Symptoms, Testing, and Treatment

A person with an itch on their arm.


A doctor is sitting at the table and talking to someone.

Key Points:

  • Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to harmless substances
  • Allergies can affect various body parts, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, itching, swelling, hives, and anaphylaxis.
  • Types of allergy tests are skin tests and blood tests, with skin tests being the preferred method for accuracy.

What are common allergies?

Allergies occur when our immune system mistakenly reacts to a harmless substance. Different allergens, including food, insects, medication, dust, smoke, and animal dander, can cause these reactions. Knowing the various types of allergies is crucial to ensure that we prevent and treat them correctly.

Allergens are substances that cause allergies, including pollen, dust mites, animal dander, certain foods, insect bites, medicines, latex, mold, and household chemicals. usually do not cause any reaction or symptoms in people who are not allergic to them.

What are the symptoms of allergies?

Allergies can affect various body parts, including the airways, sinuses, lungs, skin, and digestive system. The specific symptoms are determined by the type of allergen involved.

To help you identify your allergy, we’ve listed the symptoms associated with each type below:

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis can lead following:

  • Sneezing
  • Itching of the nose, eyes, or mouth
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis).

A food allergy can cause:

  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat
  • Hives
  • Anaphylaxis An insect sting allergy can cause:
  • A large area of swelling at the sting site
  • Itching or hives all over the body
  • Cough, chest tightness, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis

A drug allergy can cause:

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

Atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition, can cause:

  • Itchy skin
  • Red, swollen skin
  • Flakey or peeling skin
  • Hives on the skin
  • Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a serious and potentially fatal reaction triggered by certain allergies. It is imperative to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis to seek immediate medical attention. These may include:

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

What is an allergy test?

Allergy testing is a crucial diagnostic tool that helps identify the specific allergens responsible for triggering allergic reactions. By administering small doses of allergens to patients, allergists can accurately pinpoint the culprits behind the reactions. This information is invaluable in developing an effective allergy treatment plan.

What types of allergy tests are there?

There are two main types of allergy tests:

Skin Tests -There are multiple types of skin tests available to determine allergies. During the first type of skin test, known as a skin prick test, a drop of a suspected allergen is pricked on the surface of the skin. The test is performed on the back of the arm, most commonly the forearm. Many suspected allergens are tested simultaneously. Redness and swelling occur at the test spot if an allergic reaction occurs.

If the results from a skin prick test are unclear, a second type of test may be recommended to rule out false positives. In this type, known as a skin injection test, a small amount of the suspected allergen is injected into the skin of the arm or forearm. Several suspected allergens are tested simultaneously.

Blood Test: Blood tests can be used to determine allergies, although they can produce false positives and are not considered as accurate as skin tests.

Where can I be treated for allergies?

If you need allergy testing and diagnosis, visit DOC-AID Urgent Care. Schedule an appointment or use our Telehealth service from anywhere in Texas. Our company strives to provide friendly and compassionate help.