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Allergies are often misunderstood. And the word alone can incite fear in some people. But fear usually means that we don’t understand something, and not that the thing itself should be feared. Here’s an introduction to allergies. What they are. And how to identify them.

An allergy is where you show an immune response to something (often a food) that other people usually wouldn’t. It’s a kind of abnormality. What happens is your body perceives the offending item as a threat. When it comes into contact with you — through touch, inhalation, or ingestion — the body sends out antibodies to destroy it. This causes a reaction in your body that can come out in a variety of ways, but you’ll recognize them as symptoms.

What are allergy symptoms?

The tricky thing is that symptoms can be different from person to person. Reactions all vary based on allergy severity, the amount you’ve been exposed to, and other variables. We can’t tell you what your allergy symptoms will be. But we can tell you what the most common symptoms are, and you can work from there.

Anaphylaxis

We’re going to start with the most dangerous of symptoms. This is a life-threatening reaction that causes your throat to close, your body to swell up, and, ultimately, your heart to stop. It’s the most severe allergic reaction. This is the reaction most people will imagine when someone says they’re allergic to something.

Itching or a Rash

Sometimes an allergic reaction isn’t quite as life-threatening as you’d think, and it just makes you itchy. Just because it isn’t about to kill you doesn’t mean you should ignore it, though. You may develop a rash on your face, arms, chest, or legs. And the reaction is usually immediate but can occasionally appear after the fact.

Tingling sensation in the mouth

This is known to be the most frustrating symptom. If you notice a tingling sensation in your mouth after eating something new, it’s indicative of an allergy.

Vomiting or Stomach Problems

Eating food you’re allergic to can cause an upset stomach, or even vomiting. This is because the body Is literally rejecting the offending food item. It usually happens right after eating it and often will leave you with an unsettled stomach for a while.

 

As we mentioned earlier, allergies don’t always produce a life-threatening response; sometimes, the reaction is just annoying or irritating. But who wants to take that risk?

Allergies can be tested in a variety of ways, depending on your preference. From a professional laboratory, you’ll get fast, accurate results to your food allergens, which can help you modify your diet to avoid them in the future.