Allergy Clinic


The allergy clinic specializes in the diagnosis and management of food and environmental allergies.

Click on the button to find out more about Types of Allergic Reactions, or click on individual reaction types on the right to read more about each one.

TYPES OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS

Read below for additional general information about allergies:

What is an allergy?

An allergy is a hypersensitive response  of the immune system. The antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE) incorrectly identifies normally harmless substances (such as pollen, dust mites, or various food items) as threats.  In response to this threat, the body produces chemical mediators that cause the characteristic symptoms of allergies; these symptoms can include: sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat and ears, and hives.

Allergy tests

Allergy tests are able to help identify which substances, or allergens, induce allergic reactions. Such tests have the ability to detect characteristic allergy symptoms, such as skin inflammation or elevated levels of IgE in the patient’s blood .  These allergy tests are done after controlled exposure to possible allergens.  The Wilderman Medical Clinic offers three different tests to best diagnose allergies:

Skin Testing

First, a small amount of possible allergen is  placed on the forearm. After this, a medical professional then pricks the patient’s skin in order to introduce the substances into the blood stream. The medical professional will subsequently observe the patient  for visible inflammatory responses. Please note that results of this test should only interpreted by an allergy specialist; as positive reactions are not necessarily indicative of allergens. Skin testing is efficient, inexpensive and is often the first test suggested when an allergy is suspected.

Blood Testing

Blood tests are suggested in cases where patients suffer from widespread skin conditions, or are taking medication that makes skin testing impractical. In this instance,  a blood sample is acquired from the patient after sequential exposure to potential allergens, and analyzed for elevated levels of IgE antibodies. Tests can determine not only the severity of an allergy, but can also help predict future symptom development.

Patch Testing

Patch testing identifies contact allergens (allergens that induce inflammatory responses via direct contact with the skin). Patch testing involves placing a small quantity of a potential contact allergen on the skin, and then a medical professional would cover the allergen with an adhesive patch. After 48 hours, the patient’s skin would  then be examined for a hypersensitivity reaction..  During this test, individuals are advised to avoid exposure to sunlight and any type of ultraviolet (UV) light.

Common allergens

Environmental Allergens

  • Dust and dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Ragweed
  • Mould
  • Animal dander
  • Insect stings (wasp, bee)
  • Sunlight

Food Allergens

  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Sulfite (sulphur-based compounds added to food as an enhancer and preservative).

Other

  • Latex
  • Medication
  • Any substance that causes an inflammatory reaction when in contact with skin (contact allergens).

Treatment for Allergies

Immunotherapy is an effective treatment option for allergies. The goal of immunotherapy is to train the immune system to no longer react to otherwise harmless substances. This is achieved with weekly injections of an allergen solution to the patient. The dosage of allergen given to the patient is not enough to cause a reaction, but is sufficient to acclimatize the immune system to the allergen over a period of time. As the patient’s immune system becomes desensitized, the dose of the allergen  is slowly increased. Maintenance injections are then administered monthly until the immune system develops a tolerance to the allergen and severe allergy symptoms are minimized. This process may take up to six months, although more permanent immunization is possible if the treatment is continued for three to five years. Immunotherapy is mainly reserved for severe cases of allergies that can lead to fatal complications. These include bee stings or severe allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

What to expect

FAQ’s

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