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What are allergies?

Allergies are the immune system’s reaction to something that is usually harmless. Allergy triggers, also called allergens, can cause irritation or inflammation of the skin, eyes, nose or digestive system. Allergens include pollen, mold, animal dander, medicines and certain foods. Allergies are very common and range from mild to severe, even life-threatening.

What are the symptoms of allergies?

Allergy symptoms are different for each person, but common symptoms for nasal or skin allergies include:
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Red, itchy or watery eyes
  • Itchy, stuffy or runny nose
  • Itchy mouth, throat or ears
  • Skin itching or rashes
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Hives
  • Fatigue 
Food allergies can cause many of the above symptoms, as well as stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.

How are allergies treated?

Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know has an allergic reaction and experiences trouble breathing or has a history of airway swelling (anaphylaxis).

Always consult a health provider for a diagnosis. Minor or seasonal allergy symptoms often can be treated with nasal sprays or over-the-counter medicines. Severe or persistent allergies may require follow-up treatment.
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