When Are Allergies Serious?

Jul 03, 2023
When Are Allergies Serious?
Regarding allergies, some are almost negligible while others are life-threatening. Where do yours fit on the spectrum?

An allergic reaction happens when your immune system overreacts to something you’ve eaten, touched, or inhaled that usually isn’t harmful. That reaction can lead to many symptoms depending on the type of allergy you have and its severity. Allergy symptoms like a runny nose or watery eyes might be short-lived and mild enough not to bother you much. Some allergic symptoms are much more of a cause for concern. 

Accessible telehealth urgent care services are always available remotely from Virtually Urgent Healthcare in Dacula, Georgia. Without delay, Rolandine Vaughan, PA-C, MPAS, provides telehealth evaluations for allergies and can prescribe treatment according to your systems. With medication refills just a phone call away, you can stay ahead of potential allergic reactions and be prepared when they occur. 

When allergies are severe, effective management is imperative for avoiding uncomfortable, long-lasting, or even deadly reactions to an unexpected encounter. 

How allergies develop

Over 100 million people in the United States have allergies of some kind, accounting for about a third of the United States population. Not everyone experiences allergies in the same way: In fact, there’s substantial variance in allergies’ symptoms and severity. There are dozens of possible allergens that can cause an allergic reaction, each of which is harmless to most other people.

Some of the most common among them are:

  • Peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Molds
  • Insect venoms
  • Latex
  • Pollen
  • Nickel

When you come into contact with an allergen, your immune system releases chemicals called histamines in response. Histamines are chemical signallers that play many roles inside your body, but they’re also the root cause of your allergy symptoms. 

Allergy symptoms are typically confined to one area of your body: For example, you might experience sinus symptoms after breathing in pollen or mold spores. Symptoms like these tend to be mild to moderate. While bothersome, you can control many such allergy symptoms with medications called antihistamines, which lower your histamine levels. 

Types of allergy symptoms

Most allergy symptoms fit into a few distinct categories:


Rhinitis includes symptoms stemming from nose inflammation. Your nose produces more mucus than usual in response to the allergy. As a result, the mucus can run down your throat and cause coughing, congestion, and similar symptoms


Sinusitis is inflammation in your sinuses, and associated symptoms can come from allergies or infections. Symptoms include increased mucus discharge, increased pressure in your face, and headaches. 

Skin allergies

Skin allergies, like hives and itching, appear when a specific allergen touches your skin. The reaction can appear up to 48 hours after the initial contact. 

Eye allergies

Watery eyes? An airborne indoor or outdoor allergen has likely made its way into the tissue lining the inner eyelid or the outer surface of your eye. 

Anaphylaxis — When allergies are severe

Anaphylaxis is a relatively rare yet life-threatening reaction that some people get in response to allergens. It happens just seconds or minutes after exposure to allergens, typically stemming from allergies to foods, latex, or insect stings. Not everyone with these allergies will experience anaphylaxis, but it’s important to be aware of the potential for such a reaction and prepare accordingly. 

During anaphylaxis, an excessive release of histamines puts your body into shock. Unlike mild or moderate allergic reactions, anaphylaxis affects multiple parts of your body at once. It can cause trouble breathing, heart palpitations, face or throat swelling, chest tightness, and feelings of impending doom. You might experience some of the more typical allergy symptoms, like a runny nose or hives, simultaneously. 

Getting immediate medical attention is critical during anaphylaxis, but you can be proactive on the spot using a prescribed epinephrine injection or EpiPen. Antihistamines are ineffective for treating anaphylaxis. 

If you have allergies to any degree, especially if you’ve had anaphylaxis before or have a family member who has, you should talk to Rolandine of Virtually Urgent Healthcare about your risk. Schedule a telemedicine visit online or over the phone to find out more about anaphylaxis today.