How do you know if you have an allergy?

22 May 2011

Question

How do you know if you have an allergy and how do you determine the source.

Answer

Pam - You should go and see a doctor first, but you would go by the symptoms. The symptoms would tell you what disease, and then that disease may or may not be allergic. In order to work out that you've got to look at circumstances of exposure, when the allergy comes on. It's obviously easy if it's something like a cat, you go near it and you get symptoms. It's not so easy if it's something like house dust mite, which you're exposed to most of the time. But by teasing out the circumstances, you can have a good idea, and then that can be backed up by allergy tests, which can show you've got this allergic antibody to whichever substance you're looking at.

Kat - And what would be the typical symptoms of allergies? Presumably it's different for a food allergy compared to a cat allergy?

Pam - Exactly. Allergy in the nose, eyes or lungs, so rhinitis and asthma, you would get sneezing, itchy eyes, blocked nose, runny nose and asthma. With a food allergy, you might get an acute reaction with rash and swelling, through to something much more severe. Or, chronically, you could get eczema due to food.

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