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 example a pollen allergy that flares up during spring-time, or an animal allergy
that causes sneezing and red eyes when you are around cats. 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.
For more information and tips on managing animal allergies, click here.
For more information and tips on managing pollen allergies, click here.
For more information contact a Healthcare professional or visit ASCIA website.
If you are still suffering symptoms after trying to avoid exposure there are several treatment options available.
STEP 3: ALLERGY TREATMENT.
The symptoms and effects of most allergies can be treated with a range of medications, each of which works for a different type of symptom.
Allergy medication can include:
- Antihistamines (like Telfast) work to reduce allergy symptoms by blocking actions of histamine which causes the unwanted effects
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays work to decreasing inflammatory response from the allergens which leads to reduction in swelling and mucus in the nasal passages
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. If you have any questions about allergy treatments or want to know what would be best for you, talk to a healthcare professional.
For more information, ASCIA website.