Signs and Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction

Itchy Ears or Mouth

After eating a food, you may notice sudden itches in strange parts of your body like your mouth and ears. Itchy ears seem harmless, it could be an early sign you’re headed for a more severe allergic reaction to that particular food.


Sneezing frequently could be a mild, early sign of a severe allergy, even to a food you eat. Your sneezes could also be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition(s).

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Itchy, Watery Eyes

Mild reaction to pollen may cause your eyes to itch or get watery from time to time. But it might be something more serious like a drug allergy. Take note when you start a new medicine. A reaction could happen right away, or a few days or weeks later.

Runny or stuffy Nose

If your nose gets stuffy or drips shortly after you walk outside, it may be allergic rhinitis. This reaction is caused by inhaling tiny particles such as pollen, cleansers, or detergents. A runny nose could be a serious warning, though, if it starts about an hour after you take a new drug, then you might be allergic to the medication.

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Swollen Tongue or Lips

If your mouth, lips, or tongue swells up for no obvious reason, it could be angioedema, a sign of an allergic reaction. It isn’t always serious. However, in some cases, the swelling may cause difficulty in breathing, which could be life-threatening. Consult your doctor for swollen tongue or lips.

Chest Tightness

Sometimes your chest suddenly tightens or hurts when you breathe. Your throat can also feel constricted. This is a common sign of a severe food allergy. When it happens, get medical help immediately.

Flushed Skin

Food allergies can also cause redness around your mouth and eyes. If your skin quickly reddens right after you’ve contacted any allergic trigger, it could be mean your allergy is severe. See your doctor immediately while your skin is still flushed.

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Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea

After you’ve consumed a certain food, your tummy may react negatively. This could mean you’re allergic to that food. Symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain are hints. They could quickly aggravate. They’re also signs of anaphylaxis. Consult your doctor.


Hives are raised red, itchy lumps also called urticaria. Hives may appear on your skin all of a sudden. Causes include allergies to foods, drugs, chemicals, or just about anything else. Hives alone may not be serious, but if you have them along with swollen lips or wheezing, they could be a warning sign of a more severe reaction.

Changes in Breathing Pattern

Strange changes in your breathing could be a sign of a severe allergic reaction to a food or a drug. You may notice a sudden wheezing. If your breathing suddenly changes, seek treatment right away.

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Skin Rash

Skin rashes can be painful, itchy, hot, bumpy, or blistered. They’re a common result of an allergic reaction to foods, drugs, chemicals, makeup, or pet dander. A mild rash may clear up quickly with treatment, or by avoiding triggers. But it might be an early sign of anaphylaxis.


This sudden, severe allergic reaction can cause death if not treated right away. You may not know you’re allergic to something until anaphylaxis happens. Signs include difficulty breathing, pale or blue skin, hives, itching, vomiting, or anxiety. Symptoms can start within just a few minutes after you come in contact with what triggers it. Common causes of anaphylaxis include; latex in gloves, certain foods, drugs, or insect bites.

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