When you have allergies, the symptoms that you’re experiencing are often the key to identifying the type of allergy that you’re suffering from. Your allergist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, will take your symptoms into account when determining which allergy tests should be performed and which treatment options should be considered. Some of the most common allergy types are seasonal allergies, mold allergies and pet dander allergies.

What are the symptoms of allergies?

Allergy symptoms will vary based on the cause of the allergy. Below, we break down the most common allergy symptoms associated with each type of allergy.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Seasonal allergy symptoms may include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose with clear mucus
  • A sore throat due to postnasal drip
  • Itchy and/or watery eyes
  • An itchy throat

Symptoms are likely to continue over a period of many weeks or last for an entire allergy season.

Gluten Allergy Symptoms

Gluten allergy symptoms may be a little more difficult to identify. Someone with a gluten allergy may have typical food allergy symptoms, or they may experience other symptoms that seem unrelated, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia or low blood count
  • Osteoporosis

Because many people exhibit no symptoms at all, testing is essential.

Pollen Allergy Symptoms

Pollen allergy symptoms may include:

  • Runny nose, or rhinorrhea, typically with a thin nasal discharge
  • Stuffy nose due to blockage or nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, eyes, ears or even mouth
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Swelling around eyes

Cat Allergy Symptoms

Common cat allergy symptoms may include:

  • A runny or stuffy nose and sneezing
  • Facial pain from excessive nasal congestion
  • Coughing, tightness of the chest, shortness of breath and/or wheezing
  • Watery, red and/or itchy eyes
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Sleepiness

Dog Allergy Symptoms

Common symptoms of a dog allergy include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Pain and pressure in the face due to excessive congestion

Mold Allergy Symptoms

Mold allergy symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose and/or throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry, scaly skin patches

Food Allergy Symptoms

Food allergy symptoms may include:

  • Itching or swelling in your mouth
  • Vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal cramps and pain
  • Hives or eczema
  • Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
  • Drop in blood pressure

The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome also can include tingling or itching of the lips, tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth and throat after eating certain foods. Swelling of these areas may also occur on rare occasions.

In some cases, difficulty swallowing could be a sign of a condition known as eosinophilic esophagitis. This allergic reaction is triggered by food and environmental allergens and causes white blood cells in the throat to become inflamed.

How is a cold different from allergies?

The biggest difference between a cold and allergies is how quickly you notice symptoms and how long those symptoms last. Allergy symptoms will occur almost immediately after you’re exposed to something you’re allergic to and don’t go away for many weeks or even months. Cold symptoms will take several days to develop but should go away within a couple of weeks.

How are cold symptoms different from COVID-19 symptoms?

While there are common symptoms between these two illnesses, there are some major differences between them as well. A cold, for example, includes some of the common symptoms of illness like a cough, fatigue and body aches, but typically does not feature the flu- or COVID-19-specific fever or shortness of breath, or the loss of taste and smell that is a well-documented symptom of COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 information page to learn more.

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