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How to Know If I'm Allergic to Nicotine

By Catherine Colombo ; Updated July 27, 2017

Nicotine is the primary ingredient in cigarettes and tobacco products. Nicotine is highly addictive and harmful to your health. Tobacco use or exposure has been shown to cause cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. Aside from causing serious health issues, the nicotine found in tobacco can also cause allergic reactions. Allergies can appear suddenly, or develop over time. You can tell if you have a nicotine allergy by becoming aware of the warning signs, and seeking professional help if needed.

Watch for increased head pain. Notice if exposure to nicotine and chemicals found in cigarette smoke causes headaches or migraines. Chewing tobacco, smoking cigarettes, or encountering second-hand smoke flood your brain and bloodstream with carbon-dioxide, constricting blood vessels and causing headaches. If you notice a correlation between your headaches and nicotine exposure, and you probably have an allergy.

Watch for upset stomach and nausea when exposed to nicotine. Your stomach gets upset and tries to expel allergic toxins through vomiting or diarrhea.

Watch for sinus congestion when exposed to nicotine. Like seasonal allergies, your exposure to nicotine can upset delicate facial tissues, resulting in a stuffed nose, clogged ears, sneezing and coughing.

Watch for a difficulty in breathing after encountering nicotine. Your allergy may be serious enough to cause throat swelling and labored breathing. Seek professional help immediately if your airways become constricted and you have difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Check if your alternative treatment causes rashes or hives. According to family health website, FamilyDoctor.org, you may have a nicotine allergy if your nicotine patch itches or turns your skin red and blotchy. Nicotine patches contain adhesives and concentrated amounts of nicotine that can irritate the skin. Large, red blotches appearing on your body indicate hives, and the patch should be discontinued. Consult your doctor if you experience an allergic reaction to a nicotine patch, or if you develop difficulty breathing.

Warnings

Allergic reactions in any capacity should be taken very seriously, and should be reported to a professional immediately. Severe allergic reactions can come on quickly, causing serious health risks, and can be fatal if not treated correctly.

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