Step 1: Identify the cause (allergy diagnosis)
For some people it may be easy to determine what you are allergic to by the timing of your symptoms. For others the cause may be harder to discover. In this case your doctor can organise for skin prick tests or blood tests to identify the offending allergen. Skin prick testing is the most common way to test for allergies. A small drop of commercially produced allergen extract enters the skin when it is pricked with a lancet. An allergic reaction generally occurs within 20 minutes.
Step 2: Avoiding or minimising exposure to the allergen
Once the allergen is identified, it is then important to minimise exposure to the allergens. This may be removing plants from your garden, avoiding contact with pets or changing how you clean your house. If you are still suffering symptoms after trying to avoid exposure there are several treatment options available.
Step 3: Allergy treatment.
This may be through medication or immunotherapy
Allergy medication can include:
- Antihistamines (like Telfast)
- Intranasal Corticosteroids
- Specific mast cell stabilisers (delivered via sprays)
If these treatments are not successful immunotherapy may be recommended by your doctor. Specific allergen immunotherapy or desensitisation occurs when gradually increasing amounts of an allergen are administered (generally by injection) to an allergic individual.
For more information, ASCIA website.