An allergic reaction is the body’s way of responding to what it considers an invader. The immune system produces antibodies when it senses a foreign substance or an allergen. These antibodies, in turn, cause cells in the body to release certain chemicals that lead to allergy symptoms. In adults, these reactions can be caused by various factors.
This article focuses on the top causes of allergic reactions in adults.
Some of the most common food allergies in adults include:
- Tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews
- Fish and shellfish
These allergies can cause mild reactions like rashes and itching or severe, life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Another common cause of allergic reactions in adults is pollen. Pollen is a fine powder used to fertilize other plants of the same species. Trees, grasses, flowers, and weeds release it.
When someone with a pollen allergy inhales these tiny particles, their immune system overreacts. Then, it produces antibodies to attack the pollen.This can result in sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion.
Dust Mite Allergies
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that thrive in warm, humid environments. They are found in many homes, where they feed on dead skin cells shed by humans and pets.
For some people, exposure to dust mites can trigger an allergic reaction. It causes sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and coughing.
Pets can also cause allergies in adults. The allergens are usually present in a pet’s dander or dead skin, saliva, and urine.These allergens can trigger an allergic reaction when they come into contact with an individual’s skin or are inhaled.
Common symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, and red, itchy, or teary eyes.
Insect Sting Allergies
Insect stings from bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants can cause allergic reactions in some adults. A sting injects venom into the skin, leading to various symptoms.
Some people experience anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention.
Certain medications can also trigger allergic reactions in adults. Some of the most common include:
- Antibiotics like penicillin
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Chemotherapy drugs
Symptoms can vary widely from person to person and can include mild reactions like a rash, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.
Mold is a fungus that thrives in damp environments. It can cause allergic reactions when the spores produced by mold are inhaled.
Symptoms often include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, postnasal drip, and itchy or water eyes.
When to See a Doctor for Allergy Treatment
Recognizing when to seek medical attention for allergies is crucial in managing symptoms and preventing severe reactions.Consult a healthcare provider if you experience any of the following situations.
Persistent or Worsening Symptoms
It’s time to visit a doctor if your allergy persists despite over-the-counter treatments or seems to be getting worse over time. Persistent coughing, sneezing, congestion, hives, or digestive issues may indicate a more serious allergy that requires medical care.
Severe Allergic Reactions
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe allergic reactions such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face or throat
- Rapid pulse
- Loss of consciousness
These symptoms could indicate anaphylaxis. It is a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires urgent medical intervention.
Allergy Impacting Quality of Life
It’s time to consult a doctor if your allergies are interfering with your daily activities or diminishing your quality of life. This could mean you’re:
- Constantly fatigued
- Unable to participate in outdoor activities
- Frequently missing work or school due to allergy symptoms
Ineffectiveness of Over-The-Counter Medications
Over-the-counter medications can sometimes control mild allergy symptoms. However, it may be time to discuss prescription options with your healthcare provider if:
- These medications are no longer effective
- They cause bothersome side effects
Signs of Asthma
Allergies and asthma often go hand in hand. It’s essential to seek medical advice if you’re experiencing symptoms like:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Prolonged cough
Visit your doctor, particularly if you experience these symptoms after exposure to a known allergen.They can provide a thorough evaluation and develop a treatment plan to manage both conditions.
The Best Allergy Specialist in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, & Plainfield, IL
Allergic reactions in adults can be triggered by many things. This includes food, pollen, pets, and medications. Understanding these triggers and how to avoid them can help in managing allergies. Do you suspect you have an allergy? Consider getting tested by a healthcare provider. They can confirm the diagnosis and help you receive appropriate treatment.
Are you in search of the best allergy specialist in Illinois? Look no further than Oak Brook Allergists’ very own board-certified allergy and immunology physicians. Our expert team of healthcare providers will make sure you get the best possible care. You may reach our friendly staff today at (630) 574-0460 for questions or concerns. You may also book a visit with us using our secure online appointment request form.
We look forward to helping you stay on top of your allergies!