Allergy Symptoms

Allergies can present in many ways depending on what organ system is affected.  Patients with allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis have symptoms that affect the nose and eyes, while those with asthma have chest symptoms.  Skin symptoms are seen in patients with eczema and hives, while gastrointestinal symptoms are seen in those with food or drug allergies.  A lot of times a combination of symptoms can be seen when allergies affect different parts of our body.

Asthma Symptoms

An allergic reaction featuring symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness, can be set off when someone with asthma inhales allergens they are sensitive to.  These symptoms can have a negative impact on our quality of life and limit daily activities or affect our ability to exercise.  It may also affect productivity at work, cause absence from work or school, and even create socially awkward or distracting situations because other might mistake allergic reactions described above for a contagious illness.

A cough is one symptom seen in bronchial asthma.  It is one of our body’s reflexes that helps prevent potentially harmful agents from getting into our lungs.  It happens when an allergic reaction occurs in our airways and the body senses the threat of a harmful substance (the allergen), thus causing a combination of body functions that results in sudden, forceful expulsion of air from the lungs.  These include an abrupt contraction of bronchial wall muscles, chest wall muscles and the diaphragm.

Another symptom of asthma is wheezing – a whistling sound caused by air being squeezed as it passes through narrow airways. The narrowing of the airways occurs as a result of inflammation thru a combination of factors: (1) swelling of the membranes inside the bronchial tubes, making them narrow, (2) the bronchial muscles constricting or tightening, and (3) mucus production, which changes the dynamics of airflow through the bronchial tubes.  Shortness of breath is likewise experienced during asthma flare-ups because the patient can sense that there is limited air getting into the lungs due read more…

Itchy eyes and Itchy nose

Pruritus is the medical term for itching.  It is an annoying and uncomfortable symptom that occurs as part of many of the body’s defense processes when exposed to certain chemicals, irritants or allergens that can cause it harm.  It also is a symptom for many medical conditions when it affects the skin or the mucous membranes.

Allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis are disease states that occur when an allergic person gets exposed to allergens and causes nasal and eye symptoms of itchy eyes and nose, watery eyes and runny nose. The scratching and profuse drainage are meant to help the body get rid and wash off the allergens or irritants. However, this annoying and bothersome symptom can be severe enough to cause the affected person to cause injury to the skin and membranes around the eyes and nose due to persistent and relentless scratching of the areas.

Pruritus or itching in the setting of allergies is caused by the release of histamine that is released by mast cells and basophiles, the major reservoir of histamine in our bodies, during the allergic reaction.  The histamine released binds to histamine receptors in the membranes which stimulate nerve endings to cause the itch sensation.  Sometimes the itching is severe enough to be perceived as pain by severely allergic patients.

Histamine blockers or antihistamines are medications that relieve itching from allergies by binding the histamine receptors thus preventing them from stimulating the histamine receptors thus offering relief from itching.

Nasal Symptoms

Allergic rhinitis is a seasonal or year-round IgE-mediated inflammation of the nasal mucosa and upper air passages. The nasal symptoms of both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis include sneezing, runny nose, nasal obstruction, nasal itchiness and swelling. Sneezing is an involuntary physiological response to the irritation of the nasal mucosa. Basically, it’s a defense mechanism that helps expel bacteria, viruses, dust, and other foreign particles from the body. Histamine, a chemical in the body produced by inflammatory cells is released causing allergic reaction. Rhinorrhea, commonly referred to as “runny nose” is also a bodily defense mechanism wherein a clear watery discharge is expelled from the nasal turbinates. The nose provides the main route through which inhaled air enters and leaves the lower airways. Furthermore, the nose acts as an air purifier eliminating foreign material and particles. Also, nerve endings in the nose are stimulated, leading to the itchiness of the nose. These allergy symptoms may affect a patient’s quality of life in different ways. The symptoms may interrupt sleep, work, and other normal day-to-day activities. Prescribed and over-the-counter antihistamine medication can provide temporary relief.

Allergic rhinitis may sometimes be accompanied by allergic conjunctivitis. The symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include itchiness, lacrimation (tears or clear watery discharge from the eyes), redness, and swelling of the conjunctiva portion of the eye. Like allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis is caused by a histamine-mediated hypersensitivity reaction. Eye allergy read more…