Breathing Symptoms of Allergies

According to the Mayo Clinic, breathing difficulty is one the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction 1. Allergies range from environmental allergens, such as pollen, household allergens, such as dust mites, and food allergens, such as nuts. Each allergic reaction can produce different symptoms, but the person’s breathing will be affected. The most common breathing symptoms of an allergic reaction are nasal congestion, asthmatic symptoms, wheezing, coughing and the inability to breathe. A person who experiences these symptoms should consult her doctor.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Nasal Congestion

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is the most common cause of breathing difficulty due to nasal congestion 2. Allergic rhinitis can result in irritated eyes and a scratchy throat but primarily affects the nasal passages, according to Medline Plus 2. When a person with hay fever comes in contact with a particular allergen, such as pet dander, pollen or mold, his body releases certain chemicals that cause the sinus cavity to become inflamed and swollen. The swollen sinuses block airways, preventing the person from breathing normally through his nose. Nasal congestion from allergies is commonly treated with a combination of decongestants and antihistamines, according to the Mayo Clinic 1.

Asthmatic Symptoms

According to the American Medical Network, allergy-induced asthma can cause significant breathing trouble 3. When a person with allergy-induced asthma encounters an allergen, her airways restrict and overproduce mucus, causing restriction in her ability to breathe normally. If a person experiences these symptoms and has not consulted a medical doctor, she should schedule an appointment. In extreme cases, asthma can be life-threatening.

Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylaxis is an overreaction of the immune system, in which the system panics and begins to shut various parts of the body down, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). Anaphylactic shock is a rare allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. It is usually connected to food allergies and certain insect stings and bites. A person experiencing anaphylactic shock will become faint, his lips will swell, he won’t be able to breathe normally, and he may vomit. He should get immediate medical attention to avoid serious damage. Once a person experiences anaphylactic shock, he needs to remain under a doctor's care for assessment and prevention.