Allergies – causes, characteristics, and treatment

Allergies are the immune system’s response to a foreign object (allergen) that is ‘perceived’ to be harmful (these are typically harmless for others).


Symptoms vary depending on type of allergy. Food – hives, nausea, vomiting. Skin – rash, itchiness, inflammation. Seasonal – runny nose, sneezing, swollen eyes. In severe cases, symptoms can include anaphylaxis, which is a dangerous condition resulting in shortness of breath and loss of consciousness. Symptoms and severity differ from person to person.

Common Causes:

Allergens can be varied and include (but not limited to) dust, animal products, mold, certain types of food (like shellfish or nuts), pollen, latex and even certain metals.


Depending on severity and cause, treatments range from topical ointments, nasal sprays, etc. to immunotherapy courses and emergency epinephrine shots. If you think you might have an allergy, get tested promptly and seek medical advice on treatments.

‘Ask Gogodoc About’  is an educational series providing information on various symptoms, pains, and disorders. (*intended for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms, please reach out to book an online video consultation with a Gogodoc GP. Our NHS-registered GPs can speak to you via video call to provide expert medical advice and get you the right prescriptions and referrals.)

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