How do you know you have allergies?

Allergic diseases include allergic rhinitis, asthma, food allergy, atopic eczema, food allergy and anaphylaxis. 

Allergy occurs when there is a specific inappropriate immune response to harmless substance  (allergens). Common allergens include dust mites, certain food and pollen.

 

All allergic reactions develop in 2 stages:

 

1.  Sensitisation: Individual is first exposed to the allergen

Subsequent exposure of the same allergen to the

2.  Elicitation: sensitised individual show clinical manifestation. 

 

 

Symptoms of Allergy

Do you experience symptoms like Allergic Rhinitis, Eczema, Urticaria, Asthma? What do they mean?

Diagnosis 

To be diagnosed for allergies, IgE blood test or Skin Prick Tests must be conducted.
 

Treatment

To avoid? To take symptom reliever? Or Immunotherapy? Immunotherapy cures the root problem of allergies.

SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGY

Allergic Rhinitis

Runny and Itching nose, repeated sneezing and nasal congestion 

 

Eczema 

Red, itchy lesions on the skin, particularly affecting the skin folds of knees and elbows

 

Urticaria

White itchy bumps that look and feel like insect bites 

 

Asthma 

Wheezing, difficulty in breathing, cough or respiratory disturbance when sleeping or with physical exertion 

 

Conjunctivitis

Itchy and watery eyes, often accompanied by a stinging sensation  

 

DIAGNOSING ALLERGIES

Skin prick tests (SPT) and IgE blood testing are diagnostic tools used to determine what individuals are allergic to.

SPT

Usually painless and are performed by putting a drop of each suspected allergen extract with a micro-needle on the forearm.

IgE blood testing 

A sample of the patient’s blood is sent to a laboratory for analysis of IgE concentrations against different allergens. 

 

 
 
 

TREATMENT OPTIONS

The treatment options available are:​

  1. Pharmacotherapy

  2. Avoidance

  3. Allergic Immunotherapy

The most common treatment for allergies is medication. Antihistamines and or corticosteroids are often prescribed to control symptoms and improve patient’s quality of life. Avoiding allergens is another option but can be challenging especially if allergens are found in the air e.g. dust mites. 

 

However, avoidance and medication do not target the root of the problem, unlike immunotherapy.

 

Immunotherapies are the only "cure" to allergy because it treats the root of the problem. It is aimed by desensitizing the body towards the specific allergen that is causing the allergic reaction. Over time, it modifies the body's allergic response to the allergen.

 

Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)

SLIT is a form of immunotherapy that is administered via under the tongue.  This treatment is suitable for both younger children as well as adults and it is proven to be very safe and efficacious. Over time, patients will be desensitized to the allergen and build up the tolerance. The recommended duration of these therapies is 3 – 5 years and can maintain its beneficial effects for years after the discontinuation of the treatment.  

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