Page ContentCommon ConditionsAsthmaAsthma is a lung disease in which the airways become inflamed with increased mucous and narrowing of the airways. When people with asthma attempt to take deep breaths, their airways feel constricted, making it harder to breathe.Symptoms may include a cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Someone might be experiencing asthma if they've stopped playing or working and can't start again, because they are struggling to breathe. They may even have trouble walking or talking.Asthma symptoms can be triggered by a number of factors:Being exposed to allergens such as dust mites or pollensViral or bacterial infections of the lungs and airwaysTobacco smoke and other airborne irritantsExerciseIf someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, stay calm. If you can, remove the person from the allergy trigger that brought on the attack and help find their inhaler. If the person is still having trouble breathing or their lips or fingernails are turning blue, call 9-1-1.Seasonal AllergiesA seasonal allergy is an allergic reaction to a trigger that is typically only present for part of a year, such as spring or fall. This type of allergy is usually due to pollens from trees, weeds and grasses.Each year, allergies account for more than 17 million outpatient office visits, primarily in the spring and fall; seasonal allergies account for more than half of all allergy visits. Conditions caused by seasonal allergies include allergic rhinitis, sinus disease and asthma.Allergic RhinitisAllergic rhinitis is a collection of symptoms, mostly in the nose and eyes, which commonly occurs when breathing in an allergen. It can be seasonal or caused by year-round allergens, such as dust mites, animal dander, molds and pollens. Symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes, a stuffy or runny nose and itchy throat.Sinus DiseaseSinuses are recesses (cavities) in the skull and facial bones that help reduce the weight of the head and resonate the voice. Sinus disease is the inflammation of the lining of the sinus cavities, with resulting swelling and increased mucous. Though sinusitis is not a major disease, it can cause chronic problems with congestion and post-nasal drainage; it can also contribute to the development of nasal polyps.Symptoms of sinus disease vary in individuals depending on the sinus cavity affected. Some of the most common symptoms of sinus disease are facial pain and pressure, swelling on the face, and pain in the jaws and teeth. A doctor should be consulted when the symptoms of sinus disease are observed.Food AllergiesA food allergy is an immune system response, which occurs when the body mistakes an ingredient in food as harmful and creates antibodies against it. Allergy symptoms develop when the antibodies react against the "invading" food.The most common food allergies are peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans and almonds), fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy products and wheat.There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences. Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction. An allergy physician can help create an action plan for treating food reactions.Food allergy is a growing public health concern in the United States. They are life-altering for everyone involved and require constant vigilance.Skin AllergiesA skin reaction is caused by contact with an allergen that the skin is hypersensitive or allergic to. The skin reaction can involve swelling, itching, burning, redness or blisters. Dermatitis, eczema and hives are the manifestations of different types of skin allergies. Symptoms of skin allergies may include rashes, blisters, scales and hives. The symptoms of skin allergies are very commonly seen in the hands and face as they contact a variety of substances all day long, both at work and home.Urticaria (Hives and Swelling)Hives, also known as urticaria, is an outbreak of swollen, red bumps, patches, or welts on the skin that suddenly appear as a result of the body's adverse reaction to certain allergens, or for other reasons. This type of skin allergy usually causes itching, but may be followed by a burning or stinging sensation. They can appear anywhere on the body. Sometimes, hives are accompanied by prolonged, deep swelling, most commonly of the lips or eyelids. Urticaria can be acute, lasting as long as from a few hours to several weeks. In more sever cases, urticaria can last indefinitely. Some forms of urticaria are allergic and caused by the immune system's overreaction to a trigger. This is more common in children than adults and can be caused by foods, medications, infections, insect stings, blood transfusions or other substances. Most types of urticaria appear to be a misbehavior of the skin's immune system and not caused by any external allergen.EczemaEczema is a type of skin manifestation of allergy that causes the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema. Atopic refers to a group of diseases with an often inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis.Eczema is an itchy, noncontagious inflammation of the skin. In most cases, it begins as intense itching, followed by a patchy rash that is red, inflamed, dry and scaly. The rash most often affects the face, arms and legs as well as the creases of the hands and feet.Good skin care is essential for treating and preventing the symptoms of eczema. There are many effective treatments available, including a variety of prescription creams and ointments.Insect Sting AllergiesAn insect sting allergy occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to allergens that are in the stinging insect's venom. Non-allergic skin reactions to the sting could include mild pain, swelling and redness. An allergic reaction to an insect sting may result in itching, hives, flushing of the skin, tingling or itching inside the mouth and nausea or vomiting.The most serious allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, swelling of the tongue, dizziness, and fainting are signs of a severe allergic reaction.These types of reactions usually occur within minutes of the sting but have been known to be delayed for up to 24 hours. Prompt treatment is essential, and emergency help is often needed. A treatment action plan should be developed under the care of an allergy specialist.Chronic CoughChronic cough is a cough that does not go away. It isn't a disease, but rather a symptom of other disorders. Some common causes of chronic cough include asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus problems (example: sinus infection), and esophageal reflux. The underlying cause of a chronic cough can be difficult to detect. Patients often complain of a "tickle in their throat" and frequent throat clearing. Sometimes special X-rays of the sinuses or lungs may be necessary for diagnosis.