Diagnosing and Treating Allergies
Most of us infer our allergies based on some periodic or repetitive symptoms we suffer from when exposed to certain triggers. There are of course a long list of common allergies that one soon finds out if one suffers from any of them. However, it may also happen that a patient has a mild or unique allergy that does not have a commonly known allergen and as such has not been identified as an allergy, but where the symptoms always come to be treated as non-allergic symptoms. When you go to a doctor with a suspicion of an allergy, there are many ways the doctor can find out what your trigger may be. A combined analysis of the patient’s medical history and medical tests can help understand the patient’s allergies or allergen.
Some of the tests that may be carried out are:
- Scratch test
- Blood test
- Patch test
- Intradermal injection test
Other than the blood test, where the blood is directly brought into contact with the suspected allergen, all the other tests are ways to expose the patient to small amounts of the allergen and see if the patient’s pathology reacts.
The best way to deal with allergies is to avoid the allergic triggers completely. However, there are many allergens that are almost impossible to avoid. Stuff that may be suspended particulate matter in the air or something that may find its way into the water and other unavoidable substances. Responding to allergies is of two types, one is to try to become immune to the allergen or to simply deal with the symptoms as they break out.
Immunotherapy is an attempt by the therapist to expose the patient to small amounts of the allergen once it is identified, and the goal is to make the patient’s body adapt to exposure to the allergen over time. Sometimes immunotherapy lasts for months and may even have to be repeated after some years.
In terms of dealing with the symptoms, patients may be administered decongestants or antihistamines, depending on how they tend to react to their specific allergy. Both these methods look to alleviate the direct symptom, which may be a congestion in the air pathways or sneezing, runny nose, itching, and irritation as a result of histamines that the body releases in response to sensing an allergen.