Everything you Need to Know About Allergies (part 2): Symptoms and Signs of Allergies

Allergy symptoms and their severity depend on many factors such as your genetic tendency, type of allergic condition or reaction, as well as, the type and amount of allergen you have been exposed to.

While signs of allergies, such as a rash or swelling can be identified by another person, allergy symptoms are more of a subjective experience of the person having the allergic reaction. Both signs and symptoms of allergies are mentioned below.

Symptoms of Food Allergies

Allergic reaction symptoms can occur when you consume certain foods. This is a case of ingested allergens. Food allergies can affect more than one area of the body at the same time (1), (2), (3), (4). It can be immunoglobulin-E (IgE) mediated or non-IgE mediated.

Food allergies can be manifested as gastrointestinal problems, skin problems, and respiratory problems.


  • Food-protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) with abdominal         distension, bloody diarrhea, anemia, and faltering weight
  • Food protein-induced proctocolitis with blood-streaked stool
  • Food protein-induced enteropathy associated with steatorrhea and poor weight gain.


  • Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema
  • Acute urticaria and angiodema
  • Perioral dermatitis


  • Wheezing 
  • Coughing
  • Hoarse voice

Common food allergens such as shellfish, peanuts, milk, gluten, eggs, and soy or rare allergies coconut, coffee, salt, or ginger.

Coffee allergy symptoms

Foods that contain caffeine, such as coffee and tea can cause caffeine allergy symptoms. Tea allergy symptoms can be hives, swelling of the lips, throat, tongue, or even the whole face.

Nuts allergy symptoms

Nuts allergy (especially peanuts allergy) symptoms can range from mild to severe. Hives, itchy skin, tightening of the throat, swelling of the lips, and digestive symptoms such as cramps, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting (5). Severe allergic reactions include difficulty breathing, persistent dizziness, hoarse voice, paleness, and floppiness in young children.

Coconut allergy symptoms

Coconut allergies are not as common as peanut allergies but they do occur. The symptoms are similar to other nut allergies (6). There have been cases of contact dermatitis on using beauty products that contain coconut oil. 

Salt allergy symptoms

Common salt or sodium chloride has been seen to promote immune responses. Researchers have found that salt can cause atopic dermatitis by activating T cells (7).

Ginger allergy symptoms

Ginger comes from the Zingiberaceae family. It is possible that people who are allergic to ginger are also allergic to cardamom, turmeric, galangal, and East Indian arrowroot from the same family. Ginger allergy is an IgE-mediated allergic reaction that triggers the release of histamines. The symptoms include a runny nose, hives, itchy eyes, gastrointestinal distress such as bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain (8).

Nightshades allergy symptoms

Nightshade vegetables, including tomatoes, brinjal, peppers (with capsaicin), and potatoes can trigger allergy attack symptoms. The person may develop eczema, breathing problems, and rash.

Seafood allergy symptoms

Allergic reactions to seafood are mostly mild and cause symptoms such as hives, tingling of the throat and mouth, angioedema (swelling), and/or gastrointestinal problems. However severe allergic reactions have been reported such as a drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and anaphylactic shock.  Shellfish have been often seen to be commonly associated with allergies (9).

Plant allergy symptoms

Consuming plant-based foods, especially mint may cause allergies in some people. 

Mint allergy symptoms

Symptoms of a mint allergy include mouth tingling and itching. Respiratory and skin allergies have also been reported with mint consumption.

Alcohol allergy symptoms

Alcohol allergy symptoms can result from the intake of beer, whiskey, etc. Itchy mouth, nasal congestion, wheezing, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, and lightheadedness are to name a few.

Symptoms by Body Region

Allergy symptoms may manifest themselves in specific organs or areas of the body. However, allergies commonly affect your airways, sinuses, nasal passage, lungs, eyes, skin, and digestive system (10).


A heavy feeling of tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, wheezing sound, coughing, and dyspnea.


Allergic contact dermatitis on the face showcases as red rashes. There can also be red bumps, dry and crusty skin. There can be itching, inflammation, irritation, burning sensation, blistering, and impetigo.


Allergies generally cause watery eyes, red eyes, puffy eyes, swollen eyelids, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light.


Rashes, urticaria, blisters, bumps, eczema, and psoriasis.


Sore throat, itching, and scratchy throat, the sensation of a lump in the throat, breathing difficulties, constriction of airways leading to anaphylaxis in severe cases.


Swelling and itchiness of the lips, mouth, tongue, the roof of your mouth, numb lips.


Allergic rhinitis with symptoms such as sneezing, and runny nose. The nose also feels stuffy and itchy.

Environmental Allergy Symptoms

Chemical Allergy Symptoms

Chemical allergy is the reaction in the body that may result when exposure to a chemical substance (11).

Hair dye allergy symptoms 

Hair dye allergy symptoms include blisters or welts on the scalp, stinging or burning sensation on the scalp and then extended to the face and neck, swollen eyelids, swollen hands, and feet.

Hand sanitizer allergy symptoms

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can disrupt the delicate balance of skin’s pH and alter the skin barrier leaving skin vulnerable to allergens. They can cause reddening, itching, swelling, and even peeling and cracking of the skin of the hand.

Latex allergy symptoms

Latex allergy can cause itchy skin and hives. However, sometimes it may even cause anaphylaxis with swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing.

Latex condom allergy symptoms

Most latex allergies are localized and limited to the area exposed to them. Therefore latex condom allergy symptoms are also localized with itching, redness, swelling, hives of the place. Severe cases are rare but do occur and include the full body.

Paint allergy symptoms

Inhalation of fumes from the paint can cause allergic reactions such as sore throat, runny nose, cough, and nasal congestion. Some people also get rashes, discolored skin, itching, and blistering when exposed directly to the paint.

Perfume allergy symptoms

These reactions are usually mild and include an itching around the eyes and throat, a burning sensation of the skin, patchy and reddish skin.

Polyester allergy symptoms

Polyester allergy is a type of fabric allergy that leads to textile dermatitis.

Toothpaste allergy symptoms

These allergic symptoms develop around the mouth as rashes, chapped lips, and itchy sensations.

Sulphur allergy symptoms

Sulphur allergy symptoms/sulfate allergy symptoms: Sulphur allergy symptoms are similar to other chemical allergy symptoms with mild as well as a severe allergic reactions.

Sulfite allergy symptoms

Sulfite is a common additive in foods and medicines. Sulfites include sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium bisulfite, and potassium metabisulfite. Sulfites also occur naturally in certain foods such as garlic, leeks, asparagus, cornstarch, and tomatoes. Symptoms of sulfite allergies are hives, upset stomach, trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, drop in blood pressure. Sulfite allergies can be aggravated in people with asthmatic tendencies.

Metal Allergy Symptoms

Metal allergies are like any other allergic reaction like swelling, rashes, skin blistering, and scaling at the site of contact (12). The symptoms for the types of metal allergies, given below, tend to be the same.

  • Gold allergy symptoms
  • Nickel allergy symptoms
  • Silicone allergy symptoms
  • Copper allergy symptoms
  • Titanium allergy symptoms

They can occur from jewelry, coins, and even doorknobs made from these metals. Other metal allergies are stainless steel allergy and sterling silver allergy.

Outdoor Allergy Symptoms

Weather allergy symptoms (13)

This is mainly allergic rhinitis also known as hay fever. The common symptoms include watery and itchy eyes, itchy sinuses, ear congestion, and postnasal drainage.

Summer allergy symptoms

These symptoms are pretty much the same as spring allergies. They are sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, and coughing.

Humidity allergy symptoms

Humidity is the vaporized water present in the air. An increase in humidity results in the rise of a number of allergies in people. The symptoms are mostly sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose.

Dry air allergy symptoms

Dry air means low humidity or moisture in the air. The allergic symptoms of dry air are worsened asthma symptoms, nosebleeds, chapped lips, and coughing.

Symptoms of Pharmacological Allergies

Medication Allergy Symptoms

Antibiotic allergy symptoms include hives, itching, skin rash, swelling, wheezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. All the drug allergies given below have similar symptoms (14).

  • Penicillin allergy symptoms
  • Aspirin allergy symptoms
  • Amoxicillin allergy symptoms
  • Supplements allergy symptoms – for zinc oxide, iodine, etc

Histamine allergy symptoms look a lot like seasonal allergies with hives, itchy skin, facial swelling, congestion, and headaches. It can also trigger asthma attacks.

Symptoms of Allergy due to Organisms

Yeast allergy symptoms

Yeast allergy symptoms (mold, viral) include gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort. Some people may develop rashes.

Insect bite allergy symptoms

Insect bite allergy symptoms (wasp bite) include hives, itchiness, swelling, dizziness, and flushing.

Bee allergy symptoms (bee sting allergy symptoms)

The allergic reactions caused by a bee sting are skin reactions, a weak, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, and sometimes fainting.

Cockroach allergy symptoms

This allergy mimics most other insect allergy symptoms such as itchy and red eyes, itchy nose, sneezing, postnasal drip, rashes, and cough.

Severity Based Symptoms

Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, allergies can be life-threatening and are known as anaphylaxis. In more severe cases, food allergies can cause anaphylaxis with shortness of breath, low blood pressure, swelling of the throat and tongue. It can also become fatal.

Mild allergy symptoms

Mild allergy symptoms are hives and rashes in specific areas, runny nose, itchy eyes, and stomach cramps.

Moderate allergy symptoms

Moderate allergy symptoms are itchiness, hives and swelling spread to other parts of the body, trouble breathing.

Severe allergy symptoms

Severe allergy symptoms are also known as anaphylaxis can be fatal. It can begin with severe itching of your eyes or face. Within minutes you may experience swelling in the throat causing difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Abdominal pain, cramp, vomiting, diarrhea may follow. A drop in blood pressure and life-threatening anaphylactic shock.