Allergies Home > Allergy Symptoms

Different people will have different allergy symptoms, depending on what is causing the allergies and the severity of the allergic reaction. For airborne allergies, signs and symptoms can range from mild itching and sneezing to severe hives and shortness of breath. Nasal congestion, coughing, and watery eyes are common symptoms. Other symptoms, such as anaphylactic shock, are the result of a more severe allergic reaction.

Allergy Signs and Symptoms: An Overview

An allergy is the body's hypersensitivity to substances in the environment. Depending on what is causing a person's allergies, symptoms can range from mild itching, sneezing, or eczema (inflamed, itchy skin) to severe hives, hay fever, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
An extreme allergic reaction can result in anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening situation in which a person's airway swells shut and blood pressure drops.
This eMedTV article will discuss symptoms related to airborne allergies. Airborne allergies include seasonal allergies, such as hay fever (also known as pollen allergy), and perennial (year-round) allergies to things like dust or pets.

Common Symptoms

Allergy symptoms are familiar to many people. The most common symptoms of airborne allergies include:
  • Sneezing, often with a runny or clogged nose
  • Itching eyes, nose, and/or throat
  • Watery, red eyes
  • Swelling in the whites of the eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • A feeling of grittiness in the eyes.

Other common symptoms can include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Horse voice
  • Congestion or popping of the ears
  • Swelling and blueness of the skin below the eyes ("allergic shiners") 
  • "Allergic salute" (persistent upward rubbing of the nose that causes a crease mark on the nose).

Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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