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What are Signs and Symptoms of allergens? How to diagnose and treat allergies? – Part 2

Signs and Symptoms of Allergens?

• The type and severity of allergy symptoms vary from allergy to allergy and child to child.
• Symptoms can range from minor or major seasonal annoyances to year-round problems.

Allergies may show up as:
• itchy eyes
• an itchy nose
• sneezing
• nasal congestion
• throat tightness
• trouble breathing
• even shock (faintness or passing out).

Skin testing for allergies is used to identify the substances that cause the allergy symptoms.
It is often performed by:
• Applying an extract of an allergen to your skin.
• Scratching or pricking the skin to allow exposure.
• Evaluating the skin’s reaction.
• A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin
• The area is pricked with a small pricking device.
• A small amount of allergen is injected just under the skin.
• This test stings a little. It is not very painful. It is left to be seen after about 15 minutes.
• If a lump surrounded by a reddish area appears (like a mosquito bite) at the injection site then the test is positive.

The three main types of skin tests are:
• scratch test
• intradermal test
• the patch test

Scratch test (also known as a puncture or prick test)

• First, a doctor or nurse will examine the skin on your forearm or back.
• Then, she will clean it with alcohol.
• Areas on the skin are then marked with a pen to identify each allergen that will be tested.
• A drop of extract for each potential allergen is placed on the corresponding mark.
The allergens can be like:
– Pollen
– Animal dander
– Insect venom
– Grass
– Others
• A small disposable pricking device is then used so the extract can enter into the outer layer of the skin which is called epidermis.
• The skin prick is not a shot and doesn’t cause bleeding.

Intradermal Test

• After examining and cleaning the skin, a small amount of the allergen is injected just under the skin.
• This is similar to a tuberculosis test.

Patch Test

• Another method is to apply an allergen to a patch.
• This is then placed on the skin.
• This may be done to pinpoint a trigger of allergic contact.
• If there are allergic antibodies in your system, your skin will become irritated and may itch.
• This reaction means you are allergic to that substance.

Treating Allergies

• There is no real cure for allergies, but it is possible to relieve symptoms.
• The only real way to cope with them is to reduce or eliminate exposure to allergens.
• That means that parents must educate their kids early and often.
• Informing any and all caregivers about your child’s allergy is equally important.
• If reducing exposure isn’t possible or is ineffective, medications may be prescribed, including antihistamines and inhaled or nasal spray steroids.
• In some cases, an allergist may recommend immunotherapy(allergy shots) to help desensitize your child.

Here are some things that can help kids avoid airborne allergens:
• Keep family pets out of certain rooms.
• Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room.
• Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that allow dust to accumulate.
• Clean frequently.
• Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your child is allergic to dust mites.
• Keep the windows closed when the pollen season is at its peak
• Change their clothing after they’ve been outdoors, and don’t let them mow the lawn.
• Keep kids who are allergic to mold away from damp areas, such as basements, and keep bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.

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