An allergy is an abnormal sensitivity or reaction of your immune system to a substance (an allergen) that you eat, inhale or touch. Certain people are sensitive to this allergen and have a reaction when exposed to it. Nearly 50% of all people who suffer from allergies have hay fever. Some allergic reactions are mild and harmless, but others are severe and potentially life-threatening (anaphylaxis).
Allergic diseases include asthma, eczema, rhinitis, hives, insect allergies, food allergies, drug allergies and anaphylaxis. Many of these diseases can have both allergic and non-allergic “versions”. For example, a reaction to insect bites may be an allergy or a toxic reaction.
Symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of your allergies. Symptoms can include:
- Itching (mostly eyes, nose, mouth, throat and skin).
- Runny nose.
- Stuffy nose.
- Pressure in the nose and cheeks.
- Ear fullness and popping.
- Sore throat.
- Watery, red, or swollen eyes.
- Dark circles under your eyes.
- Trouble smelling.
Things that people are commonly allergic to include:
- Tree and grass pollens.
- House dust mite.
- Animals, especially domestic pets such as cats and dogs.
- Insect venom such as that contained in wasp and bee stings.
- Medicines - for example, the antibiotic penicillin.
- Foods, such as nuts and eggs.
- Chemicals such as latex.
Severe allergic reaction – anaphylaxis
A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is life threatening.
- difficult or noisy breathing.
- swelling of the tongue.
- swelling or tightness of the throat.
- difficulty talking or a hoarse voice.
- wheeze or persistent cough.
- persistent dizziness or collapse.
- paleness and floppiness in young children.
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In case of emergencies
Prescription Online is not an emergency service. If symptoms are critical or life-threatening, you should call triple zero (000) or go straight to hospital.