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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
Hundreds of ordinary substances can cause—or trigger—an allergic reaction.
Among the most common things that can cause reactions are:
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: