seasonal allergies

Types of Allergies and Common Reactions

There are many types of allergies and allergic reactions. Some allergies are seasonal, some are all year around. Some can affect only the eyes. Sometimes food causes allergic reactions and other times insect stings can.

An allergic reaction’s severity can also vary. People can experience mild symptoms of allergies to life-threatening anaphylactic shock reactions.

Read on to learn more about different types of allergies, their symptoms, and how they can be treated.

types of allergies - hay fever

Hay Fever

Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis. There are a number of symptoms someone with hay fever allergies can experience.

These symptoms include:

  • Congestion
  • Itchy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Swollen, itchy, and/or watering eyes
  • Coughing
  • Face pain
  • Ear pressure
  • Fatigue

If you experience these symptoms in the spring, you are likely allergic to tree pollen. In the summer, the most common allergens are grass and weed pollen. In the fall, the usual culprits are the weeds. Fungus spores can cause hay fever from late March through November, though some may have symptoms year-round.

If you have symptoms throughout the year, you’re suffering from perennial hay fever. You are likely allergic to indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, feathers, or mold. You can prevent these symptoms by avoiding the allergen.


There are a few ways to treat the symptoms of the hay fever-type of allergy. These treatments include:

  • Nasal saline solutions
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Nasal corticosteroids
  • Cromolyn
  • Immunotherapy
types of allergies - food

Food Allergies

Some people are allergic to certain foods. This is because the immune system reacts to certain proteins as dangerous, though they’re harmless. Therefore, it causes a reaction. The most common food allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, and cow’s milk.

Symptoms of a reaction to a food type of allergy include:

  • Tingling of the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and/or face
  • Hives (urticaria)
  • Wheezing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Anaphylaxis (in severe cases)

You may also find that you have food sensitivities and intolerances. These are not considered a food allergy as it’s milder and has a different underlying mechanism. Skin and blood tests can help detect food sensitivities and allergies. If identified, you should eliminate these foods from your diet.


Antihistamines can treat reactions to food sensitivities and mild food allergies. However, an epinephrine shot, or EpiPen, can treat severe allergies and anaphylaxis.

types of allergies - insect stings

Insect Sting Allergies

Nobody likes getting stung by a bee or wasp. But it’s those who are allergic to these stings that do need to worry. Bees and wasps are common insects that cause allergic reactions. Those without an insect sting allergy still feel discomfort and pain, but allergic reactions have even more symptoms.

Symptoms of this type of allergy include:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness at the sting site
  • Itchy skin on the body
  • Hives
  • Cough
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Anaphylaxis (in severe cases)

Some insect sting allergies only show mild symptoms, but others can be severe and life-threatening.


If stung by an insect, it’s ideal to remove the stinger from the skin within 30 seconds. You can use a fingernail or stiff-edged object like a credit card. Try not to squeeze the sac when taking it out. Wash the sting area with soap and water and apply an antiseptic solution.

If mild allergy symptoms occur, antihistamines will help relieve itching and swelling. In cases of severe reactions, an EpiPen should be used. You can also take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to manage any pain too.

types of allergies - drugs

Drug Allergies

Some people may find they are allergic to certain medications. The reactions to this type of allergy can range from mild to severe. Penicillin, penicillin-based antibiotics, sulfa drugs, barbiturates, and anti-seizure drugs are common allergens.

Symptoms of a drug allergy reaction include:

  • Hives (urticaria)
  • Itchy skin
  • Skin rash
  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems
  • Anaphylaxis (in severe cases)

It’s important to let your doctor know if you are allergic to any drugs and medications.


You can treat mild symptoms with antihistamines. For cough and lung congestion a doctor may recommend bronchodilators to widen the airways. In severe cases of anaphylaxis, you must use an epinephrine shot or EpiPen.

types of allergies - eye allergy

Eye Allergies

Another type of allergy is allergies of the eyes. Also known as allergic conjunctivitis, eye allergies are fairly common. These types of allergies can be seasonal or perennial.
Airborne substances like mold spores, weeds, tree, or grass pollen cause seasonal allergies. Allergens causing perennial allergies include dust mites and pet dander.

Contact lenses can also cause allergies or giant papillary conjunctivitis in its severe form. Still more, other types of allergies include vernal keratoconjunctivitis and atopic keratoconjunctivitis.

Symptoms of eye allergies include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Itchy eyes
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Watering or tearing
  • Stringy discharge


A doctor can recognize eye allergies based on the symptoms, and other tests are rarely needed. Treatment includes anti-allergy eye drops, tear supplements, non-steroid anti-inflammatory eye drops, and corticosteroid drops.

types of allergies - exercise induced

Exercise-Induced Allergic Reactions

No, you can’t be allergic to exercise. However, exercise can trigger allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms. In rare cases, exercise can also cause a severe allergic (anaphylactic) reaction. The diagnosis is based on asthma or allergy symptoms in relation to exercise and an exercise challenge test.

Very intense exercise may trigger severe anaphylactic allergic reactions. Some people experience anaphylaxis if they eat certain foods like wheat or shrimp before they exercise.

Symptoms of an exercise-induced allergic reaction include:

  • Significant drop in blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Collapse after 5-10 minutes of vigorous exercise
  • Anaphylaxis (in severe cases)

Asthma is also associated with allergies and exercise-induced reactions. In case of exercise-induced asthma, a doctor may prescribe inhalers and suggest avoided the trigger. Another way to avoid triggers is to become fitter and increase exercise duration and intensity slowly.

For those who experience anaphylaxis from exercise-induced allergies, they should carry an EpiPen. Better yet, avoid the exercise that triggers the reaction. Also, avoid consuming certain foods before working out too.

doctors running to type of allergies reaction - anaphylaxis


If you haven’t noticed, if an allergic reaction is severe, it could cause anaphylaxis. Cases of anaphylaxis require immediate medical attention. Food, drugs, insect stings, and exercise and cause this severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Significant drop in blood pressure
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Skin rash
  • Lightheadedness

If you or someone experiences anaphylactic shock, call 911 immediately. If possible, administer an epinephrine shot.


As you can see, there are many types of allergies out there. From seasonal to eye to food to even exercise-induced allergies, each one has different symptoms.

It’s important to be aware of allergens you may react to. If you have a severe case of allergies, always carry an epinephrine shot with you.

If possible, avoid triggers and allergens at all costs.

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