It is estimated that roughly 20% of the population, including millions of children, may be suffering from some form of allergic disease. Allergies are caused by the immune system's reaction to otherwise harmless substances, commonly present in the environment.
Allergens can be airborne particles that are ingested or contacted. Sometimes allergic reactions can be triggered by allergens introduced by an insect sting/bite or by an exposure to a certain medication. Allergy symptoms may range from as simple as just making one miserable to causing a life threatening reaction. Reactions may be acute, transient or constitute chronic, life-long conditions.
Allergic reactions can affect essentially any organ or system in the body. Most commonly, allergens affect the nose, throat, eyes, lungs, skin, stomach or intestines. Allergic reaction can be generalized (affecting the whole body) and result in rapid multiple organ failure and/or, in extreme cases, death. When exposed to an allergen, the immune system will trigger an allergic response, although the severity of the reaction may vary.
It is important to learn what a person is allergic to and take measures to effectively avoid such allergens and treat possible reactions.
Victoria Allergy and Asthma Clinic can provide the following help and treatment options:
Skin allergy testing is a method for medical diagnosis of allergies that attempts to provoke a small, controlled, allergic response. The testing process introduces a microscopic amount of an allergen into the patient's skin by various means including the “Prick Test” or Intradermal Testing. If an immune-response is observed, it can be concluded that the patient has an allergy to that allergen. Further testing can be done to identify the particular allergen.
Allergies and Asthma have common traits and often occur together. The same allergens that trigger hay fever symptoms may also cause asthma signs and symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. This is called allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma. Pollen, dust mites and pet dander are substances that commonly trigger allergies-asthma. Identifying allergenic triggers and avoiding these allergens is an important preventative step.