What Causes Allergies?

If you’re experiencing sneezing, itchiness or congestion,allergies may be responsible for your symptoms. Allergies are the body’s response to substances that do not cause a reaction in most people. Common allergens range from pollen and dust to certain foods and medications.

If you’re dealing with allergy symptoms, you’re not alone. More than 50 million people in the U.S. experience various types of allergies each year, making them the county’s sixth leading cause of chronic illness. Charleston ENT & Allergy can determine the source of your allergies and create a customized treatment plan to help you get back on your feet.

An older woman and child are outdoors gardening on a sunny day. They are wearing matching straw sunhats and the child looks up expectantly at the woman as she manipulates a plant while wearing yard work ready gloves.

Why Do Allergies Lead to Uncomfortable Symptoms?

When people with allergies encounter a triggering substance, their immune system overreacts and produces antibodies that attack the allergen. These substances can be ingested, inhaled or touched.

These antibodies then travel to cells that release chemicals that cause an allergic reaction. This often results in symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin.

Are There Different Types of Allergies?

  • Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergies, can result in sneezing, itchiness in the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth; a stuffy nose; and watery, red or swollen eyes.
  • Food allergies can cause tingling in the mouth; swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat; hives; or anaphylaxis.
  • Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, can make the skin itch, redden, flake or peel.
  • A drug allergy can result in hives, itchy skin, a rash, facial swelling, wheezing or anaphylaxis.
  • An insect sting allergy can cause hives, itchiness, chest tightness, cough or anaphylaxis.

What Are Risk Factors for Allergies?

A family history of allergies or asthma, or an asthma diagnosis, can make someone more susceptible to allergies. Allergies are also more common in children.

What Are Common Allergy Triggers?

  • Pollen, dust, animal dander and mold
  • Food such as peanuts, wheat, shellfish, eggs, milk, wheat and soy
  • Medications, especially penicillin and sulfa drugs
  • Bee and wasp stings

If I’m Experiencing Allergy Symptoms, What Are the Next Steps?

Allergy symptoms can be uncomfortable, but we’re here to help. At Charleston ENT & Allergy, we can determine what’s causing your allergies and provide personalized treatment based on your needs and lifestyle. Whether you’re experiencing food allergies or hay fever, our team is here to provide the highest quality care.