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Allergy season is upon us, and identifying the differences between normal, seasonal allergies and serious respiratory issues is critical for maintaining respiratory health. That wheeze when you breathe or your itchy throat may just be allergies, but it could be something more serious, and it’s important to know what to look for when you start to notice symptoms.

 Standard Allergies: How to Identify Them


Standard allergies can be caused by excessive pollen in the air or pet dander, and allergies occur when a person’s immune system rejects these particles. According to Allergy Insider, the main symptoms of seasonal allergies include:


  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Stomach pain
  • Hives
  • Itchy mouth or ears
  • Swelling of lips, tongue or throat

Understanding your body and how it reacts to the materials you are allergic to can prevent suffering from these symptoms. According to Cleveland Clinic, allergy testing can help identify what your body is rejecting through three different tests. These include:

  • A skin prick test where a thin needle is used to slightly invade the skin.
  • An intradermal test where the provider inserts a small amount of the allergen into the outer layer of the skin.
  • A patch test where the provider places drops of the allergen onto your skin and covers it with a patch.

Serious Conditions: How to Identify the Symptoms


The symptoms of allergies can be easily confused with the beginning signs of serious airway conditions. There are several conditions to watch out for, but some are more prominent than others. Some of the most common conditions are:


Deviated Septum: According to Mayo Clinic, a deviated septum is caused when the wall of your nasal passage is displaced to one side. Symptoms include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Obstruction of nostrils
  • Facial pain
  • Preference for sleep on one side over the other


Chronic Sinusitis: This occurs when spaces in or near the nose or head are inflamed or swollen for more than three months. Chronic sinusitis prevents the nasal cavity from properly draining mucus, which means that the person has a stuffy nose for long periods of time. Symptoms include:

  • Nasal inflammation
  • Abnormal discharge coming from the nose
  • Drainage down the back of the throat
  • Reduced sense of smell or taste
  • Ear pain
  • Headaches
  • Jaw or teeth pain
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): This disease has taken the world by storm over the past few years, but many people still don’t know a lot about it or what symptoms to look out for when deciding to test for COVID or seek treatment. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As demonstrated by the World Health Organization’s findings, many people with the virus experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without needing special treatment, but some become seriously ill and require severe medical attention.


Common COVID-19 symptoms to watch for include:


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Loss of speech or mobility, or confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Sore throat
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea


Asthma: According to Mayo Clinic, asthma is when your airways narrow and create more mucus. The symptoms vary in severity depending on the person, but here is a list of signs that you may be suffering from asthma.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing when exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath
  • Coughing attacks

There are three main types of asthma that individuals may be experiencing. These include:

  • Exercise-induced asthma experienced when the body does excessive movement
  • Occupational asthma can happen when someone is exposed to chemicals or fumes in the workplace
  • Allergy-induced asthma triggered by airborne substances

Serious respiratory conditions can easily be disguised as “just allergies,” but knowing the signs and symptoms of the most common respiratory issues can make a difference in your life. It’s important to seek care from a medical professional if the severity of these symptoms increases.


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