Allergy Symptoms

How to Identify Allergy Symptoms

A surprising number of people experience allergy symptoms without actually realizing it. They will brush off a sneezing fit or a runny nose as “something in the air” or “fighting off a cold.” However, millions of people living in the U.S. report allergy symptoms each year, many of which are untreated or undertreated for full relief. Here are common allergy symptoms to be aware of and discuss with your doctor if they do not resolve within a day or two.

Allergy Symptoms

Nasal Stuffiness

A stuffy nose can have countless causes, so allergies are not everyone’s first guess. However, thinking about a few aspects of the stuffiness may help to clarify whether it is a temporary condition of little substance or a full-blown seasonal or constant allergy. It may help to keep track of when symptoms appear. For example, you may notice that you are stuffy first thing in the morning or only when outdoors. Your nasal passages may become congested when you are petting a cat or dog, or sitting on certain types of furniture. Even seasonal temperatures and weather conditions can affect allergy symptoms like a congested nose. For example, many allergy sufferers experience their most intense symptoms in springtime, while others notice a major impact in fall. Some feel more congested during the winter when the house is closed up due to cold weather. Taking note of when symptoms appear and how long they last is a first step toward identifying any allergens that may be affecting you.


Sneezing fits or spontaneous sneezes throughout the day, on most days, may be a sign of an allergy. A person may sneeze softly or hard, and the nose may render mucous or nothing. Sometimes it may be just a common tickle. But if sneezing continues frequently, especially when suspicious allergens are present, that may be evidence that the person is experiencing an allergic reaction.

Head Stuffiness

In addition to clogged sinuses, an allergy victim might also experience a sense of congested ears or throat. This can make it more difficult to breathe freely, and in fact, may contribute to the victim developing a headache, an earache, or general sinus pressure. Congestion anywhere in the head may signal an allergic reaction, although symptoms should be evaluated by a specialist for confirmation. This may involve various tests to distinguish between non-specific symptoms and allergy-related issues.

Frequent Coughing

A heavy, prolonged, productive cough can be a sign of a serious illness. However, it may also be representative of an allergic reaction to something the victim’s body is sensitive to. Coughing may range from an occasional tickle in the throat to periodic coughing bouts with postnasal drip. A cough might also produce significant phlegm, depending on the severity of the allergy. Discolored or bloody phlegm should be immediately reported to the doctor. An extended cough could be an allergic reaction if the allergen is located near the person, or even a brief exposure could lead to a prolonged cough that continues to bother the person for hours or days.

Keeping track of any symptoms of this type will help a person to identify patterns that may be associated with specific substances or objects to which he or she is allergic. Notes of symptom occurrences should be shared with a doctor or allergist to help determine the source of the problem. Symptoms can sometimes be alleviated just by limiting exposure to the suspected allergen or removing it altogether. Sometimes medication can help. Certain patients may be able to take sensitization injections to help their body adjust to allergens and not react in negative ways.