Allergies and allergy examinations
Determining the cause of an allergy is always important. The aim of treating all allergies is to eliminate as many symptoms as possible and to achieve a balanced quality of life.
Allergies refer to conditions in which there are antibodies or eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) that target the substance that causes the allergy in the body. Allergies are divided into rapid or slow onset allergies according to how quickly the symptoms occur.
According to allergists, pollen, animal dander and certain foods are the most common causes of allergic reactions. However, an allergy can be caused by almost anything.
Children experience different allergic symptoms depending on their age. For example, a child may have an atopic eczema in the very first months of their life. According to Mehiläinen’s allergist Ove Mickelsson, who specialises in the allergies of children, the symptoms of some children develop into a food allergy, while some may also begin to experience pollen allergy or asthma.
In order to avoid any allergic reactions, adults should be aware of their own allergies and their children’s allergies. Any possible external causes for an allergy should be studied in advance in order to minimise or avoid exposure to them entirely.
Particular attention should be paid to any symptoms in the respiratory system, such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and watery eyes if the child experiences such symptoms when playing with an animal or during pollen season.
If these symptoms occur during pollen season, it can indicate a pollen allergy or asthma, which can be diagnosed with allergy tests and pulmonary function tests. The symptoms can be alleviated effectively by avoiding exposure to the allergens or administering appropriate medication for the symptoms. According to Mickelsson, the aim of allergen immunotherapy is to improve tolerance of allergens, which may also cause some allergies to go away for good. Mild allergic reactions can be treated with antihistamine, while more severe reactions may require cortisone treatment. The emergency treatment for most severe allergic symptoms is adrenaline, says Mickelsson.
It is advisable to consult a physician as soon as possible if certain allergic symptoms occur.
Severe rashes, strong allergic reactions to certain foods, shortness of breath and other strong reactions always indicate that a physician should be consulted as soon as possible, say Ove Mickelsson and paediatrician Leena Kujala from Mehiläinen.