In spite of efforts to avoid exposure to allergens, you might find that your allergies continue to worsen. You may have tried staying indoors or vacuuming with a HEPA filter to no avail.
If you notice the following symptoms, your allergies may be getting out of control:
- Dark circles around your eyes – Those “raccoon” eyes are signs of allergies that arise from congestion of the nose and sinuses. You can take antihistamines to help with your “allergic shiners,” but if they do not help, see a doctor.
- Wheezing – Wheezing is an allergy symptom that can be irritating on its own and downright scary when it progress to asthma. You experience wheezing when your airways swell due to the release of histamine and other chemicals in the body during the course of an allergy attack. See an allergist if wheezing is a persistent problem.
- Rash – In cold weather, you might think that your itchy skin is due to the dry weather. If your itching worsens and turns into a rash, it might be a sign of an allergic reaction. Itchy skin is one of the common symptoms of allergies. Your allergy could have been triggered by your soap or laundry detergent, rough fabrics, pollen, pet dander, and more. The itchy skin can be addressed with moisturizers, hydrocortisone cream, antihistamines, or allergy immunotherapy.
- Trouble paying attention – It can be tough to focus on the task at hand when your nose is dripping, your eyes are tearing, and you haven’t been sleeping well at night due to your allergic rhinitis. You may take antihistamines to stop your symptoms, but those can lead to “foggy brain.”
If your symptoms are severe enough to hurt your quality of life, or if they endure for more than a few months of the year, see an allergy doctor. Ask if you would benefit from allergy immunotherapy treatment through allergy shots or under-the-tongue allergy drops (known as sublingual immunotherapy). Medications may help in the short term, but only allergy immunotherapy can “retrain” your immune system to stop reacting to allergens in the environment once and for all.