Allergies are often very hard to detect since most symptoms can be mistaken for other medical conditions. Also, they can develop over time and make you allergic to foods or allergens you had no problems with in the past, and sometimes even a series of tests will lead to inconclusive results. Allergy symptoms occur when our body has an unusually strong immune response to an otherwise harmless substance (anything from peanuts to fabric softener), and while some of them are hard to miss, others are often misinterpreted as fatigue or a common cold. Even though there is no certain way to determine if you have an allergy based solely on the symptoms, these signs show there is something wrong with your immune system and that it is time to pay a visit to the doctor.
1. Runny or stuffy nose
The easiest way to tell an allergy from a cold is to observe other symptoms and keep track of how long they last. A cold will typically last from a few days to a few weeks while an allergy tends to last much longer and to reoccur seasonally. Another way to tell the two apart is to pay attention to your eyes and throat: if they feel itchy rather than just sensitive and sore, it is highly likely that you are suffering from an allergy.
2. Skin redness or rash
Just like in the previous case, these symptoms can be a sign of other diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, mites, and other. What is typical for an allergy-related rash is that it breaks out suddenly, often within hours of being exposed to the allergen. If you suddenly develop a rash and don’t know what caused it, go see a doctor who will do a series of allergy tests to determine if you’re suffering from an allergy or another condition.
3. Abdominal pain and digestion problems
Many people are oblivious to the fact that they have developed an allergy to a certain type of food and can live with these symptoms for years without realizing they are allergy-related. The best way to link these symptoms to an allergy is to observe when they occur –
the pain, diarrhea, or bloating will likely happen right after you have eaten something you’re allergic to. Keep track of what you eat and if you notice a link between a certain type of food and the occurring symptoms, try removing that food from your diet for at least a month. If the symptoms don’t stop, visit a medical expert for further tests.
4. Sleep disorders and fatigue
When you’re stressed out or overworked, having trouble sleeping or feeling constantly tired are symptoms most people won’t connect to allergies. The fact is that cytokines, proteins that are released as part of our body’s immune response, are linked to causing bad moods and fatigue as they reduce the level of serotonin, a hormone that makes us feel happy. If you experience persistent symptoms, make sure you rule out allergies as a potential cause.