Presentation on theme: "Introduction to ALLERGIES. What is Allergy? An exaggerated immune response to normally harmless substances such as: food, mold spores, dust mites, insect."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction to ALLERGIES
What is Allergy? An exaggerated immune response to normally harmless substances such as: food, mold spores, dust mites, insect venoms, trees, grasses, weeds, medications and chemicals.
What else can trigger an allergic reaction? Infection Stress Fatigue Pollution Smell Smoke
Mechanism of the Allergic Reaction Allergens (mold, dust, etc) enter the body If you are allergic, your body may overreact causing excess production of IgE antibodies After further exposure, the allergen binds with the IgE antibody and causes certain cells to release histamine-like substances.
What are histamine-like substances? These substances cause the allergic symptoms youre familiar with: Itchy, watery eyes Sneezing Nasal Congestion/Runny nose Pain or pressure in ears, ear infection
What are antibodies? Antibodies are the bodys soldiers and normally they serve to protect us. In the allergic individual, the immune system mis-reads a substance/allergen as an invader and produces IgE antibodies in excess causing an allergic reaction.
How are allergies diagnosed? Accurate diagnosis is key to successful treatment and requires: PATIENT HISTORY PHYSICAL EXAM TESTING
The History Reviewing patient history can establish how and when the symptoms appear, whether they are seasonal or year- round and whether they can be associated with any particular activity, place or exposure.
PHYSICAL EXAM Your physical exam will focus on the eyes, ears, nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Results of the exam will be more informative if performed in season, or while the symptoms are at their peak.
IgE Allergen-Specific Blood Tests for Testing An alternative method for testing in lieu of skin prick tests, is called a RAST test. A small sample of your blood is mixed with different allergens and observed for a chemical reaction. Advantages: Convenient – 1 needle stick Safe – not affected by medications you may take Dependable – strict laboratory procedures are followed to provide precise, accurate results Reduced Risk and Patient Discomfort
Why should a Total IgE be ordered? An elevated Total IgE may signal an allergic response outside of the allergen panel selected. For example, your initial panel of IgE-specific tests may not indicate an allergic response. However, an elevated IgE may prompt your doctor to consider ordering additional allergens to identify the offending allergen(s). A normal or low Total IgE along with negative test results will confirm that IgE-mediated allergy is probably not the culprit.
How do you get an allergy? You can develop an allergy at any age. Usually, symptoms first appear in childhood after exposure to the offending allergen. You may have inherited a tendency to develop allergy. If one parent had it, you have a 50% chance, if both parents have a history of allergy your chance increases to 75%.
Are allergies more than just an annoyance? The Allergic March is a term used to describe the allergic disease progression throughout ones lifetime. It starts in infancy as eczema and gastrointestinal problems, usually do to food allergy, and then progresses on to hay fever and asthma if left untreated. Blood testing for allergies with appropriate treatment alters the progression of the allergic march.
What can be done to alleviate my symptoms? Avoidance of the offending allergen(s) Pharmacotherapy (medications) Immunotherapy (shots or drops) Combination of the above
The Bucket Theory When you are allergic to a particular substance, there is a certain amount of it that can be tolerated without exhibiting symptoms. However, once your threshold is exceeded, your symptoms will appear. Therefore, allergen avoidance is not a 100% reduction of the allergen exposure, but it is a reduction of the threshold dose that initiates symptoms. In simpler terms, if you know that a bucket can hold a gallon of water and you decide to add more than that amount, spillage will occur. This spillage is the allergy trigger and the point in time when your symptoms will appear.
The Most Important Tip Whichever treatment your doctor prescribes, its important to continue your treatment on a regular basis. Trust your doctor and stay with the program.