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Understanding Allergic Diseases

By definition, an allergy is a hypersensitivity immune response to normally harmless substances, such as pollens or foods. 

About Allergies

What is an allergy? For most people, these substances—also called allergens—pose no problem. In allergic individuals, however, the immune system identifies them as a threat and produces an inappropriate response.1

The symptoms of allergic diseases are numerous and may also be attributable to more than one allergy, as up to 80 percent of allergic patients are sensitized to more than one allergen.2

Explore Types of Allergies

Food Allergies
Food
Respiratory Allergies
Respiratory
Eczema
Eczema
Urticaria
Urticaria
Animal Allergies
Animal
Venom Allergy
Venom
Drug Allergy
Drug
Latex Allergy
Latex
Chronic Otitis Media
Otitis Media
Mastocytosis
Mastocytosis

Up to 80%

Up to 80 percent of allergic patients are sensitized to more than one allergen.2

 

Hundreds of ordinary substances can cause—or trigger—an allergic reaction.

Among the most common things that can cause reactions are:

  • Plant pollen
  • Food
  • Insect stings
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Medications



The mainstay of management in allergic conditions is exposure reduction, and/or avoidance, thereby reducing the causative factor behind symptoms.


 


Diagnostic Testing Is Already Routine

The identification and management of allergies can be summarized in a similar process to that of other diseases you may already be managing:

1. History and physical. As with all medical conundrums, the first step is a focused history and physical examination.

2. Test to identify IgE sensitization. The second step is identifying sensitizing allergens and their sources—this step is critical to the diagnosis and clinical management of allergies. Used routinely to aid in the diagnosis of allergies, specific IgE testing is an objective tool that yields quantifiable results you can also use in the management of your patient’s allergies.3,4 Specific IgE testing is a logical addition to your testing array because it fits into the workup in a similar manner, as the assays you may regularly order for managing diabetes or hypercholesterolemia.

3. Targeted management. The third step is targeted management. By confirming the patient’s unique triggers, your management approach, which may include pharmacological and non-pharmacological options, can be targeted to manage the patient's unique pattern of triggers and associated symptoms.3,4

 

Identifying your patient’s allergic triggers can help:

  • Control allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis.
  • Prevent the use of avoidable medications and reduce the number of office visits.
  • Optimize care and manage health risks.
  • Reduce costs associated with absenteeism and lost productivity at work and school.

 

Learn more about specific allergies

Learn about specific IgE testing

References

 

  1. Pawankar R, Holgate S, Canonica G, at el. World Allergy Organization. White Book on Allergy (WAO). 2011. http://www.worldallergy.org/UserFiles/file/WAO-White-Book-on-Allergy_web.pdf. Accessed December 2017.
  2. Ciprandi G, Alesina R, Ariano R, et al. Characteristics of patients with allergic polysensitization: the POLISMAIL study. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;40(3):77-83
  3. House of Lords. Science and Technology sixth report- the extent and burden of allergy in the United Kingdom. http://www.bsaci.org/pdf/HoL_science_report_vol.1.pdf. Accessed December 2017.
  4. Pearce L. Managing allergic rhinitis. Nursing Times. 2012;108(17):20-22.