Uncommon Symptoms of an Allergy


February 3, 2021


Uncommon Symptoms of an Allergy

Whether through media portrayal or from personal experience, all the hallmarks of a typical allergic reaction are eminently familiar. The sniffles, sneezes, and runny nose that attend reactions to common allergens such as dust, mold, and pet dander occur so often as to stand in for all allergic reactions. But cold-like symptoms aren’t the limit of allergic reactions. More unusual or severe symptoms can also occur when your body’s immune system overreacts to mostly innocuous agents. If you notice some of these uncommon symptoms of an allergy, you’ll know now that some of these perplexing or painful conditions may indeed not be viral or bacterial infections but rather allergic reactions, for which you may need to consult your local allergist to treat.

Contact Dermatitis

You find yourself with an unsightly rash, a flushed feel, and persistent itching. This sounds exactly like a reaction to poison ivy, and yet you have no memory of traipsing through anyplace where poison ivy grows. Before you start scouring the yard for any suspicious three-leaved plants, the real culprit may lie within your own closet. Common chemicals that manufacturers use to treat or process clothing, shoes, and home goods can elicit allergic reactions in some sensitive people. This reaction manifests itself as contact dermatitis, a skin condition with eczema-like symptoms that results from mere contact with allergens. Anything from the detergents and fragrances you use to the leather in your shoes can cause an allergic reaction—and often a particularly uncomfortable one, at that. Even contact with certain metals in jewelry, traditionally the nickel you find in some earrings and rings, can cause contact dermatitis. If you suspect it’s indeed not poison ivy that’s giving you these itchy rashes, see an allergist or dermatologist to try to determine the root cause.

Sinus Headache

While most cases of respiratory allergies will leave you with the feeling of a very bad cold, it’s uncommon that they will give you the feeling of a migraine as well. Sinus headaches, which occur when mucus buildup and inflammation of the sinus cavities place extreme pressure on the rest of the face and head, can be extremely painful; in fact, almost as painful as the feared migraine, though without some of the more esoteric symptoms such as nausea, auras, and hypersensitivity to light and sound. While in the throes of a terrible case of sinusitis and the attendant head pain, you may suspect the onset of a migraine. But in the absence of those symptoms, it’s most likely that you’re dealing with extreme symptoms of an allergy—symptoms you can best treat with antihistamines or strong but over-the-counter analgesics.


Conjunctivitis, the inflammation of the mucous membrane that covers the eye and eyelid, is a common infection, especially in children who rub their eyes at inopportune times. You may know it better by its apt descriptor—pinkeye. While viral and bacterial forms of conjunctivitis are the most familiar variants, conjunctivitis can be allergic in nature as well. In allergic conjunctivitis, unlike its viral and bacterial counterparts, the affected eyes are bloodshot, teary, and irritated, as is usual in this condition, but the eyes lack the discharge that indicates an infectious origin. To treat this, you may need a two-pronged approach of antihistamine eyedrops to relieve inflammation at the source, as well as oral antihistamines for related allergy symptoms. If conjunctivitis should arise as a result of an allergic reaction, be sure to treat it before the irritation becomes severe.

Swollen Tongue and Lips

Your tongue and lips beginning to swell after eating something, even a familiar food, can be cause for alarm and panic. In extreme cases, exposure to such an allergen can cause anaphylaxis, a severe allergic condition that can cause shock and death. Swelling in the mouth is an uncommon allergic reaction that, when it does occur, usually occurs as a result of eating certain fresh fruits, vegetables, or nuts—and most commonly nuts, at that. Epinephrine injections, or epi-pens, are the first line of defense against this reaction, and if you discover firsthand that you have a food allergy that causes this, you will need to carry one on you at all times in case you inadvertently consume what you’ve identified as a dangerous allergen.

Behavioral Issues

When you don’t feel well, you don’t feel like yourself. This is true whether you’ve come down with the flu, have a bad case of indigestion, or are coping with bad allergies. While we’ve concentrated to this point on more immediate indicators of allergic reactions, behavioral problems as a result of fatigue, malaise, or general discomfort indirectly make up another one of the uncommon symptoms of an allergy. In most cases, this emanates from pervasive environmental allergies, like dust or pet dander, which compromis breathing during sleep, most often by forcing one to breathe through the mouth rather than through the nose. Difficulty breathing at night as a result of allergies can lead to interruptions in the sleep cycle, which means that the body does not properly recover and rebuild through the night. This can leave the afflicted person starting a new day feeling tired, foggy, and irritable, all of which can have major ramifications throughout the day. If you or someone in your family is suffering from being visibly and generally out of sorts, it may be allergies going under the radar and compromising necessary rest.

Where To Go From Here

From the covert to the self-evident, unusual symptoms of allergic reactions can be frustrating. If you find yourself suffering from bedeviling conditions that don’t fit the usual mold—if you’ll pardon the expression—of allergic reactions, it may be time to consult your local allergist. Allergy & ENT Associates serves the greater East Texas region with an allergy clinic in the Houston area that tests for and treats a variety of environmental, food, animal, and pharmaceutical allergies. Outside of our service area, we encourage you to find allergists closer to home who can similarly address any concerns you have relating to idiosyncratic instances of conjunctivitis, dermatitis, inflammation, sinusitis, or even just a long stretch of generally not feeling your best.

Uncommon Symptoms of an Allergy

This entry was posted in Allergy on February 3, 2021 by AENT Team.

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