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If you find yourself constantly sneezing with a runny nose, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve caught a chill. But the common cold may not always be to blame for your symptoms.

Allergic reactions can show themselves in a variety of ways including rashes, itchiness and a stuffy nose.

We took a closer look at some of the most common allergy symptoms to help you find out if that sniffle is something more serious.

What are some of the most common signs of an allergic reaction?

Some allergies can affect the nose causing you to sneeze and have an itchy, blocked nose. Watering eyes that are itchy and red are also another sign.

Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness are also common signs of an allergic reaction.

Skin allergies may cause an itchy, raised rash called hives or dry, cracked skin.

Other tell-tale sales of an allergy are swollen, inflamed lips, eyes, face or tongue.

Those who suffer from food allergies may experience tummy pain, vomiting or diarrhoea after they eat particular foods like cow’s milk or eggs.

What are the more severe symptoms?

A severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.

Sufferers usually have trouble breathing, their throats and mouths swell, and they may feel lightheaded and confused.

In some cases, they may also collapse or lose consciousness. These are rare and require urgent medical treatment as they can be life-threatening.

How long do symptoms take to appear?

Any substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen. After breathing in or coming into contact with an allergen, allergic reactions usually happen within a few minutes.

However, reactions aren’t always as instant, with some symptoms slowly developing over a few hours. Identifying what you’re allergic to will make it easier to find the right treatment to manage your symptoms.

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