Allergen-rich environment

Ask your doctor about a simple blood test for allergies

Allergies prevalence

Allergies are common and affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.

Allergies and related diseases including asthma, rhinosinusitis, atopic dermatitis, and life-threatening allergies to food, drug, and stinging insects affect at least 30% of the population and nearly 80% of families.1-4

The prevalence of allergic diseases has continued to increase in the industrialized world for more than 50 years.1

Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are approaching 40–50%.1

Children are particularly at risk as most allergies are inherited.

But you do not have to be born with an allergy to be allergic. You can suddenly become allergic to something that has never been a problem before. Typically, food allergies evolve into inhalant allergies, and clinical symptoms usually correlate to age, with eczema being found in infancy, followed by gastrointestinal distress in infancy or childhood. Rhinitis is commonly seen in later childhood, and respiratory symptoms are manifested by allergic asthma in the preteen and teenage years.5

Cell diagram

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to a normally harmless substance – known as allergens – present in the environment.

Depending on the allergy, reactions occur seasonally or throughout the year. If you are allergic, you produce too much IgE antibody in response to an allergen. When IgE antibodies react with an allergen, your body releases chemicals that cause specific allergic symptoms.


Triggers 

Many things can trigger an allergic reaction.

Allergy trigger: animals

Animals

Animal dander are receiving clinical attention as major allergen sources.

Allergy trigger: drugs

Drugs

Any medication can induce a drug allergy. However, certain medications are more likely to cause drug allergy.
Allergy trigger: dust

Dust

A mixture of different allergenic compounds such as animal and human dander, molds, mites and bacteria contribute to house dust.

Allergy trigger: foods

Foods

The most common food allergens include cow’s milk, egg, peanut, fish, shellfish, nuts, corn, cereal grains, citrus fruits, and soybean.

Allergy trigger: insects

Insects

Although uncommon, insect bites or stings can be life-threatening.

Allergy trigger: molds

Molds

Molds can live year-round indoors and outdoors, but some seasonal variations and peak periods occur.

Allergy trigger: occupational

Occupational

High levels of allergen exposure in the workplace can cause allergies to latex, flour, baker’s yeast, livestock, chemical inhalants, heavy metals, detergents and many other occupational allergens.

Allergy trigger: pollen

Pollen

Many trees produce large amounts of pollen that may cause hay fever and asthma. Cypress, juniper, and cedar can be particularly troublesome. Weed pollens are among the most common causes of hay fever. In cooler climates, the peak pollination period extends from May to June, in warmer climates, from March to November.

Testing 

A test can help you know for sure and diagnose which allergens are triggers.

To diagnose, your doctor will take the medical history, perform a physical exam, and conduct a skin prick test or blood test.

Skin prick test

Skin prick tests induce an allergic reaction by injecting the allergens under the skin. These induced allergic reactions:

  • May be long-lasting and uncomfortable
  • Pose the risk of severe reactions
  • Is used as a confirmatory test
  • Are not recommended for patients with certain skin conditions
  • Are not recommended for patients with a reduced histamine response
Blood test

Blood tests detect and measure the amount of allergen-specific antibodies in your blood. Blood tests:

  • Are simple as they involve only one needle prick
  • Ensure no risk of reaction
  • Are not affected by medications so there is no need to stop taking medications before the test
  • Are a convenient method for monitoring decreases in sensitization resulting from a medical intervention such as allergen avoidance
  • Are a valuable diagnostic tool for following development and prognosis of sensitization in childhood
  • Are readily available to primary care physicians
  • Are convenient for patients suffering from eczema, atopic dermatitis, and other skin conditions
  • Are practical and convenient method for infants and children, especially when affected by dermatographism

Treatment 

Allergy avoidance

Eliminate the causes of allergy in your personal environment
Sometimes the best cure for an allergy is simply to remove the cause. Depending on your allergy, you may need to:

  • Control house dust with filters
  • Avoid allergy-causing foods
  • Limit outdoor activities during heavy pollen periods
  • Minimize exposure to certain animals
Allergy medication

Use prescribed medication
Effective prescription drugs can reduce your allergy symptoms with few side effects. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication.

Allergy immunotherapy

Receive immunotherapy
Immunotherapy can reduce sensitivity to pollens, dust, mold, spores, animal dander, and insects. This treatment enables a patient to build tolerance to a variety of allergens through regular allergen injections by a physician.

Early and accurate diagnosis and treatment for allergies can help you live better.

If you or your child have allergy symptoms, talk to your doctor about taking a simple allergy blood test.

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