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Allergic disorder

Definition
  • Immune reactions to normally harmless substances, leading to respiratory symptoms.
Common Allergens (Respiratory)
  • Pollen: from trees, grasses, and weeds.
  • House dust mites: microscopic creatures living in household dust.
  • Animal dander: tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds, and other animals with fur or feathers.
  • Moulds: fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors.
Respiratory Symptoms of Allergies
  • Wheezing and coughing.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes.
  • Chronic sinusitis.
Diagnostic Tests

Patch Testing

  • Used primarily to identify substances causing contact dermatitis.
  • Allergens are applied to the skin via patches; reactions are read after 48 hours.
  • Common allergens tested: metals (e.g., nickel), rubber, medications, fragrances, preservatives, hair dyes, chemicals.

Skin Prick Testing (Pin Prick Testing)

  • Small amount of suspected allergen is placed on the skin using a tiny needle prick.
  • If allergic, a raised, red area (wheal) will appear within 20 minutes.
  • Commonly used for environmental allergens, foods, insect stings, and some medicines.

Blood Tests

  • Total IgE levels: Elevated in many allergic conditions but non-specific.
  • Allergen-specific IgE: Can determine sensitivity to specific allergens.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): Eosinophilia may be present in allergic disorders.
Management
  • Allergen Avoidance: Identification and minimisation of exposure to the offending allergens.
  • Antihistamines: Reduce allergic reactions by blocking histamine release.
  • Inhaled Corticosteroids: For respiratory symptoms like asthma due to allergies.
  • Allergen Immunotherapy: Gradual exposure to increasing amounts of allergen to modulate immune response. Effective for certain allergies like grass pollen.
Complications
  • Asthma exacerbation.
  • Chronic sinusitis.
  • Anaphylaxis: Severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Requires immediate medical attention.

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