Allergic Symptoms (Sneezing, Runny Nose, or Hives)

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What it feels like: varies from person to person, and includes a num-ber of symptoms such as sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, rash or otherskin problems, which typically appear when you come in contact witha particular substance or animal, or during particular seasons.

This chapter describes what happens when you have allergies.However, some of these symptoms—such as sneezing and sniffling—also occur when you have a cold. Refer to chapters on BreathingProblems (Child), Cough, and Fever for more details.

Your Doctor Visit

What your doctor will ask you about: rash, hives, your reactions toinsect bites, wheezing, difficulty breathing, your work, where you live,and whether you are exposed to dust, chemicals, or animals.

Your doc-tor will also want to know whether you have ever been treated for aller-gies or asthma, or had skin testing for specific allergies performed.

Your doctor will ask if certain seasons, substances or animals“trigger” your symptoms, and if you feel better once those trig-gers disappear.

Your doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your familyhas had any of these conditions: drug allergies, asthma, eczema,hives, hay fever, food allergies. Your doctor will want to know if you’re taking any of these med-ications: steroids, bronchodilators, antihistamines, skin creams,allergy shots, decongestants.

Your doctor will do a physical examination including the fol-lowing: pulse, blood pressure, eye exam, nose exam, listening to yourchest with a stethoscope, thorough skin examination.

WHAT ARE SOME CONDITIONS THAT RESULT FROM ALLERGIES, AND WHAT IS TYPICAL FOR EACH CONDITION?

Condition: Rhinitis
What is it: Inflammation in the nose
Typical symptoms: Sneezing, runny and stuffynose, watery eyes, post-nasal drip

Condition: Asthma
What is it: Severe breathing problem
Typical symptoms: Wheezing, difficultybreathing, chest constric-tion

Condition: Hives
What is it:  Type of rash, generally bumpy or raised
Typical symptoms: Swelling on the skin that  can itch or burn

Condition: Eczema
What is it: Type of scaly red rash
Typical symptoms: Redness on the skin thatcan ooze or become scalyand crusted

Condition: Anaphylaxis
What is it: Body-wide allergicreaction
Typical symptoms: Swelling of neck and face,  trouble breathing, confusion, light-headedness,nausea, rash

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