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Your GP can offer advice and treatment for mild allergies with a clear cause. If your allergy is more severe or it’s not obvious what you’re allergic to, you may be referred for allergy testing at a specialist allergy clinic.
If you are looking for help and advise or information, call our Helpline on 01322 619898 – they can advise on your nearest NHS allergy clinic or consultant.
Skin prick testing
Skin prick testing is one of the most common allergy tests. It involves putting a drop of liquid onto your forearm that contains a substance you may be allergic to. The skin under the drop is then gently pricked. If you’re allergic to the substance, an itchy, red bump will appear within 15 minutes.
Most people find skin prick testing not particularly painful, but it can be a little uncomfortable. It’s also very safe.
Make sure you do not take antihistamines before the test, as they can interfere with the results.
Blood tests may be used instead of, or alongside, skin prick tests to help diagnose common allergies. A sample of your blood is removed and analysed for specific antibodies produced by your immune system in response to an allergen.About allergies
An allergy occurs when the body overreacts to an allergen or ‘trigger’ that is typically harmless to most people. Examples of allergies include:
hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
The how to purchase cymbalta 30 mg symptoms of allergy range from mild to severe. The most severe type of allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, which may cause death without prompt administration of adrenaline (epinephrine). For mild allergies, effective treatments are available to manage or treat allergy symptoms.
Symptoms of allergies
Symptoms depend on the allergy, but may include:
swelling of lips, face, eyes
red, watery and itchy eyes
wheeze or persistent cough
swelling tongue and tightness of throat
abdominal pain (insect allergy)
vomiting (insect allergy).
Do not self-diagnose. The symptoms and signs of allergies are common to many other medical conditions. It is important to see your doctor or clinical immunology/allergy specialist for professional diagnosis, management and treatment.
A substance in the environment that can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible people is called an ‘allergen’. There are many different allergens, but they all share one thing in common – protein. Some allergens don’t contain protein to begin with, but bind with protein once inside the body to provoke the allergic reaction.
Common allergens include:
food – such as crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts (for example, almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts), sesame and soy products
plants – pollen from grasses and plants
medicines – including prescription medications (such as penicillin), over-the-counter medicines (such as aspirin) and herbal preparations
insects – such as dust mites and the venom from bees, ticks, ants and wasps
moulds – such as mushroom and mould spores
animal dander – such as the fur and skin flakes from domestic pets such as cats and dogs
chemicals – including industrial and household chemicals and chemical products such as latex rubber.
The immune system reaction
Allergy is the result of mistaken identity. An allergen enters the body and is wrongly identified by the immune system as a dangerous substance. In response, the immune system makes antibodies to attack the allergen. These are specific antibodies of the IgE (immunoglobulin E) class.
When an allergen is found, IgE antibodies trigger a cascade of immune system reactions, including the release of chemicals known as mast cell chemicals. These are substances that the body normally uses to destroy micro-organisms. The most common of these is histamine.
In small amounts, histamine causes itching and reddening of the local area. In large amounts, the nearby blood vessels become dilated and the area swells with accumulated fluid.
The abilify otc immune system’s tendency to overreact to a harmless substance is thought to be genetic. The term ‘atopy’ describes this genetic tendency. Doctors and clinical immunology/allergy specialists describe a person who has an allergy as being ‘atopic’ – such people usually have raised levels of IgE in their blood.
An allergy is a reaction the body has to a substance.
Allergies are very common. They affect more than 1 in 4 people in Europe at some point in their lives.
They're particularly common in children. Some allergies go away as a child gets older. Many are lifelong.
Adults can develop allergies to things they were not allergic to before.
Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect your everyday activities. Most allergic reactions are mild and can be kept under control.
Severe reactions can occur, but these are rare.
Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.
The more common allergens include:
grass and tree pollen – an allergy to these is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
flakes of skin or hair from animals
food – particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cows' milk
insect bites and stings
medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
latex – used to make some gloves and condoms
mould – these can release small particles into the air that you can breathe in
household chemicals – including those in detergents and hair dyes
Most of these allergens are harmless to people who are not allergic to them.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction
Allergic reactions usually happen within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
They can cause:
a runny or blocked nose
red, itchy, watery eyes
wheezing and coughing
a red, itchy rash
worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most allergic reactions are mild. Occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can happen. This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.