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3 Little Known Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

More than 50 million Americans have allergies–it’s a common ailment with a range of symptoms that vary by individual and allergen. Seasonal or environmental allergies are common, often producing sniffling, stuffy noses and red, itchy eyes. Foodborne allergies to eggs, nuts, shellfish, and peanuts are also common. These allergies tend to produce hives, inflammation, and anaphylaxis. 

Those who suffer from allergies know that everyone reacts a little differently. The symptoms and severity of reaction vary by individual. And while there are many symptoms that are easily recognizable, there are a few symptoms that tend to go undetected. Here are a few less common symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Unexplained Fatigue

Did you know that persistent allergies can really take a toll on your sleep quality? From general malaise to constant sinus pressure, allergy sufferers tend to mouth breathe when they sleep. This means their oxygen intake is compromised throughout the sleep cycle resulting in unexplained fatigue. Of course, this can lead to a host of other issues, from weight gain to unhealthy looking skin, an inability to concentrate, and more.

Looking a Little Less than Refreshed

Even if you’re sleeping well, the bags under your eyes might leave you looking tired. The puffy appearance in your face is probably a little more than aging or a bad night’s sleep. Allergy sufferers experience increased inflammation, especially in the nasal passages for respiratory allergens. This swelling can range from mild to severe, making many people look tired. Furthermore, inflammation can lead to other health issues later on.

Feeling Anxious

Most of us already know that allergic responses can vary in intensity–and that includes anaphylaxis. While this life-threatening symptom is unlikely to go unnoticed in severe cases, a milder reaction can easily be confused for a panic attack. This feeling, of course, is beyond unpleasant, and if not correctly identified could persist for some time.

Difficulty Hearing

Respiratory allergies cause a wide range of symptoms involving the ears, nose, throat, and eyes. While we’re accustomed to connecting the dots between itchy eyes and high pollen counts or excessive sneezing and pet dander, one we might overlook is muffled hearing. A buildup of fluid can backup in the Eustachian tubes, making hearing difficult–almost like you’re listening underwater.


If you experience a stab of sharp chest pain while sitting down for dinner, a food allergy could be the culprit. Heart problems are more commonly associated with chest pain, but they’re not the only cause. Allergy-induced angina is often accompanied by a shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, a weak pulse, and panic. These in turn could also lead to other issues, besides being uncomfortable on their own.

Dr. Peter Martinez-Noda is an experienced general practitioner helping patients identify and treat a range of allergies. Get the help you need today.