This «test» is always carried out. Be prepared to answer questions about your complaints, about time and situation, where and when they usually appear, about other known or suspected allergies in your family, and about former attempts for treatment.
Carefully taken notes for every day with complaints, just like a diary, can greatly improve the outcome of this stage of diagnosis.
Once symptoms of an allergic disease occur, a medical specialist (allergologist) should be consulted to identify the respective allergen.
The diagnosis includes three phases:
Identifying the allergen is the first step for a successful therapy. A diagnosis from a medical specialist designated as allergologist would be beneficial. In a first anamnesis the medical doctor provides the basis for further examinations and already obtains indications of possible allergens. It is very important to give as detailed information as possible regarding your symptoms to the medical doctor. Afterwards the medical doctor will perform a test to identify the triggers of the symptoms. Most medical doctors use a skin prick test for this procedure. To start the procedure different allergens extracted from special manufactured solutions are applied on the inner surface of the forearm. Afterwards, the skin will be slightly perforated in the area of the applied allergen solutions to provoke a skin reaction. If the reaction is positive a small wheal (approx. 3mm) and erythema forms after 15 to 20 minutes at the skin-pricked position. The intensity of this reaction is measured with a prick ruler.
The procedure is quick, nearly painless and well tolerated by patients, also by small children.
For a confirmation of the diagnosis blood tests can be performed in addition to the skin prick test. The blood test includes an IgE titer determination, which identifies the allergens responsible for the symptoms.
Please note: Only educated professionals are allowed to perform allergy testing! Never try to find out on your own if you have allergic reactions to a potential allergen!
After the diagnosis the patient is educated according to the following:
It is possible to avoid certain allergens to prevent any allergic reaction in first place. Allergies to animal hair or special food can be avoided this way. However, for other allergies such as a pollen allergy this kind of “abstention” is impossible. Also house dust mites cannot fully be avoided, they appear even in the cleanest house.
The ingestion of symptomatic medicine (antihistamines, bronchodilators, corticosteroids) leads to relief of symptoms depending on the severity of disease. However, the cause of disease (error response of the immune system) is not treated this way. Only a causal allergy therapy may have long-term effects and prevent allergic symptoms permanently. Within a specific immunotherapy (SIT) the body is provoked with allergen in increasing doses (injections, tablets, drops) and therefore has contact with the allergen during a longer period of time. In the course of this treatment (minimum three years) the immune system accustoms to the allergen and ranks it as harmless. A specific immunotherapy can be started after the fifth year of life and should be started especially if symptomatic medication does not lead to a relief of symptoms. An untreated allergic rhinitis may get worse and could lead to allergic asthma (allergic march). Within the allergic march allergy symptoms shift from the upper airways to the bronchi.