Thursday, 6 March 2014

Diagnosis of Allergies

Besides a thorough medical history, the doctor will perform a number of skin tests and/or a blood test called Radio Allergo Sorbent Test (RAST). There are three skin tests used to evaluate and diagnose allergies, the prick method, the intramural test and the patch test:
The prick method is the most common type of skin test. This test is done by placing a drop of allergen extract on the skin on the back and passing a needle through the extract and making a tiny puncture in the skin. If allergic to the allergen a hive will appear at the site of the puncture within about 15 minutes. The doctor can perform multiple prick tests with varying allergen extracts simultaneously.
If the patient is allergic, the skin will become red and peel. When skin testing is not feasible, as in the case of people
with eczema and other skin conditions, RAST (blood test) is used. Diagnostic tests can be done by using a blood sample
from a patient to detect the levels of IgE antibody to a particular allergen.


Wear a pollen mask when mowing the grass or housecleaning.

windows and doors closed during heavy pollination

Wash sheets, mattress pad and blankets weekly in hot water {at least 13°F).

Remove carpets and upholstered furniture (drastic measure).  


When avoidance or control of an allergen isnt possible, medications may be necessary. Common allergy medications are:
Decongestants: administered via spray or orally to unclog nasal passages. Examples of spray decongestants are oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Vicks Sinex). Other medications or brands may be recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. Oral decongestants include pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and combinations of decongestants and analgesics.
Steroid nasal sprays: administered via spray to mute the inflammatory response. Medications include fluticonase (Flonase), mometasone (Nasonex), triamcinolone (Nasocort), and beclomethasone (Beconase, Vancenase).
Antihistamines: drugs that block the action of histamine, which is responsible for allergic symptoms.
Short-acting antihistamines, which are generally over-the-counter (non-prescription), often relieve mild to moderate symptoms, but can cause drowsiness. A pediatrician should be consulted before using these medicines in children, as they may affect learning.
Longer-acting antihistamines cause less drowsiness, can be equally effective, and usually do not interfere with learning. These medications, which require a prescription, include fexofenadine (Allegra), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).

Cromoglycate (Nalcrom)or related agents: administered mostly as eyedrops or nasal sprays to help prevent attacks


Allergies are abnormal reactions to ordinarily harmless substances. The sensitizing substances, called allergens, may be inhaled, swallowed, or come into contact with the skin.

Allergens that most frequently cause problems are: pollens, mold spores, house dust.mites, animal dander, foods, insect bites or stings, plants, insect spores, latex rubber, viruses, bacteria, medications and environmental conditions (luch as cold temperatures). Allergic reactions can occur in one area, such as sneezing or ikln rash or sneezing, or mnv Include more than one .


experience - by encountering, battling and remembering one enemy after another. For decades, medical science has taken advantage of this ability by using vaccination to create immunity - the immunologic memory of a disease. Allergic reactions occur after the immune system mistakenly leams to recognize innocent foreign substances (allergens) as potentially harmful.


The fundamental cause of allergy is still not known. The problem has a tendency to run in families. An allergic individuals more likely to have relatives who are allergic than would be expected on the basis of chance, but non-hereditary factors apparently play a part as well. Individuals can be affected by a variety of allergic diseases. The most common allergic diseases are:

Allergic rhinitis is a general term used to apply to anyone who has allergy-based symptoms. Allergic rhinitis can be a seasonal problem allergic rhinitis (commonly known as hay fever or pollen allergy) or a year-round problem (commonly known as perennial allergic rhinitis). Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by allergy to pollens of trees, grasses, weeds or mold spores. Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by house dust, animal dander, mold and some foods.

Asthma is caused by intrinsic and extrinsic (inhaled) factors. Intrinsic factors are pollens, dust, dust mites,

animal fur, animal dander or feathers. Extrinsic factors are respiratory infections; a cough, cold or bronchitis; exercise and tobacco smoke or other air pollutants, and can be caused by an allergy to a particular food or medication.
Eczema, also known as allergic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis, can be caused by foods or other allergens.
Contact dermatitis is caused by exposure to certain plants (such as poison ivy or poison oak), cosmetics, medications, metals and chemicals.

Urticaria, also known as hives, is caused by allergy to foods, such as nuts, tomatoes, shellfish and berries. Hives inn also be caused by medications, such as aspirin and penicillin.


The signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis are:
ineezing, often accompanied by a runny or clogged nose
coughing and postnasal drip
Itching eyes, nose and throat
ll«raic shiners (dark circles under the eyes caused by
increased blood flow near the sinuses)

the allergic salute (in a child, persistent upward rubbing
l Il* nose that causes a crease mark on the nose)
an inflammation of the membrane that linn* eyelids, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes and  of the eyelids

The signs and symptoms of asthma are
a feeling of tightness in the chest
difficulty inhaling and exhaling
noisy breathing ("wheezing").
The signs and symptoms of eczema, contact dermatitis and urticaria are:
red, itchy skin
inflamed skin
welts (in hives).