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What are allergies?

Allergies happen when your immune system reacts defensively toward a substance that is not normally harmful. Your immune system usually filters out and attacks the things that are harmful to your body.

An allergic reaction occurs when the body treats a non-harmful substance as a threat and releases a flood of chemicals to fight that threat.

What are allergy symptoms?

Allergic reactions can vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Itchy skin
  • Itchy eyes
  • Hives
  • Redness or rashes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose or stuffy nose
  • Swelling of tongue and/or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness and wheeziness
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

Common allergens and causes of allergic reactions:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Food
  • Bee and other insect stings
  • Medicines

If symptoms are severe, call 911 immediately

Reactions vary from mild to very severe. Sometimes you can have an allergic reaction even if you don’t normally. Some allergies are caused by pollen, dust or mold only in the air during certain seasons.

If you experience life-treatening symptoms, call 911 as soon as possible.

For less intense symptoms, sometimes a prescription medication may be necessary for treatment. Visit your local CareNow® urgent care clinic if you have seasonal allergy symptoms.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock is the most serious kind of allergic reaction. Your body releases a flood of chemicals that causes your blood pressure to drop and your airways to narrow and block your breathing.

The reaction begins very quickly and can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know experiences anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately.

How are non-life threatening allergies treated?

Because there are so many different kinds of allergies, the treatments vary, too. Mild and seasonal allergies can sometimes be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. These medicines block the symptom-causing chemical your immune system releases during the reaction.

Some medications are available over-the-counter, while others need to be prescribed. If non-life threatening symptoms occur, visit your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinicfor fast diagnosis and treatment.

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