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February 28, 2023

Allergies: causes, diagnosis and treatment

Allergy diagnostics Allergy screening Berlin
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Spring is just around the corner and many people are already looking forward to milder temperatures and more hours of sunshine. At the same time, February marks the start of the season for many allergy sufferers, which is associated with symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose, itching, sneezing and coughing. Allergies are a “widespread disease” affecting around 20 percent of adults in this country. It does not always have to be a pollen allergy, but there are many different allergic reactions that can occur. However, hay fever is one of the most common forms of allergy. How can an allergy be diagnosed? What can you do yourself? And what treatment options are available? We will be happy to inform you about this. We will also be presenting our state-of-the-art allergy diagnostics with ALEX2 from MADx.

What causes allergies?

In the case of an allergy, the body’s immune system reacts sensitively to substances that are actually harmless, such as pollen or animal hair. The triggering substances are referred to as allergens. On contact with these substances, the immune system incorrectly classifies them as dangerous or harmful pathogens and triggers the conventional defense reactions in the body. How this hypersensitivity or misinterpretation comes about has not yet been conclusively clarified. It is assumed that there is no single trigger for allergies, but that there is a bundle of causes.

As the number of allergy sufferers is on the rise, it is also assumed that modern lifestyles and increased contact with environmental toxins increase the risk of allergies. Furthermore, the pollen count is also increasing due to climatic changes. Globalization could also be a reason for the more frequent sensitization to certain substances. People are traveling more and thus coming into contact with pollen and foods that are less present in this country, such as peanuts or the ragweed ragweed.

Typical allergens

The most common allergenic substances include pollen from trees, grasses and cereals. But these are not the only allergens that exist. Allergens can irritate both the mucous membranes and the skin. In addition, allergies can occur immediately after contact (immediate type) or only after 24 to 72 hours (delayed type).

Depending on the allergy, this can lead to reactions such as rhinitis, coughing and watery eyes, as well as skin rashes or itching. The swelling of the mucous membranes can also cause breathing problems. One of the most severe allergic reactions is anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock). The symptoms can affect the whole organism and in severe cases can even be life-threatening. Anaphylaxis can be triggered by food, medication or insect venom.

Frequent allergens at a glance:

  • Pollen
  • House dust mites
  • Animal hair
  • Insect venom
  • Foodstuffs
  • Medication
  • Metals
  • Cosmetics/fragrances
  • What can you do if you have an allergy?

    Allergies can severely restrict those affected in their everyday life. The most reliable way to rule out allergic reactions is to avoid the allergens. Of course, this presupposes that the triggering substances are known. This is relatively easy to implement for some allergens, such as certain foods or fragrances. Avoiding contact with pollen, on the other hand, is difficult to achieve.

    Pollen allergy sufferers should above all take care to keep their home as pollen-free as possible. These include measures such as not taking off street clothes in the bedroom, washing or brushing out hair thoroughly in the evening, regularly wiping surfaces with a damp cloth, changing bed linen more frequently and keeping windows closed during the day/opening them only towards evening. This can have a positive effect on sleep behavior in particular and alleviate or completely prevent symptoms during the night.

    Strengthening the immune system for allergies

    A strong immune system is a good support for individual allergy therapy. Allergies are the result of a weakened or “misdirected” immune system. With a balanced, healthy and vitamin-rich diet, exercise in the fresh air, a restful sleep routine and conscious recovery phases, you actively contribute to strengthening the immune system, which in turn can reduce allergy symptoms.

    Allergy diagnostics in our practice

    In addition to the conventional prick test, we also use modern allergy diagnostics with ALEX2 from MADx at our Weißensee Skin Center. A small amount of blood is taken from the patient to determine the allergies. The blood sample is taken with as little pain as possible. Patients often only notice a slight prick or a faint feeling of pressure at the donor site. The blood sample is then tested in the laboratory for around 300 different allergens. Cross-allergies can also be investigated. With ALEX2 from MADx, comprehensive allergy screening is therefore possible in a short time and with a single sample. The results are summarized in a report and can then be discussed with Dr. Kors. The next steps can then be determined on the basis of this detailed analysis.

    Treatment options for allergies

    In the case of acute allergy symptoms, medication is usually recommended to alleviate the symptoms. Hyposensitization can be used to treat the causes of the allergy. This “acclimatizes” the immune system to the allergens so that it reacts less aggressively to them. Hyposensitization can be carried out in the form of drops, tablets or injections. Dr. Kors will be happy to advise you as a specialist in allergology in Berlin. Please feel free to make an appointment for a personal consultation at the practice. Click here to make an appointment online.

    last update: 28.02.2023

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