By Edward Edelson
Asthma to grass, pollen, medication, and customary family items arc frequent yet may be simply handled.
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Additional resources for Allergies (21st Century Health and Wellness)
Then the suspected foods are added to the diet, one at a time, while the patient is watched for an allergic reaction. Because it takes so much time and requires a great deal of discipline, an elimination diet is best when there is only a small list of suspected foods. Blood Tests In a few cases, the doctor may do a blood test to confirm the presence of allergies, looking for high concentrations of eosinophils, white 34 ALLERGY TESTS AND ALLERGENS blood cells that take part in the allergic response, or of IgE.
In one such test, a food extract is injected under the skin. Instead of looking for an allergic skin reaction, the practitioner looks for such symptoms as discomfort, fever, and drowsiness. In another such test, the same symptoms are supposed to occur when the same food extract is placed under the tongue. Those extracts often are used to treat the purported allergy. The claims made by these practitioners have never been verified by carefully controlled scientific studies. Their challenge tests and extract treatments have been described as having “no plausible rationale or immunologic basis” by the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, and an expert committee of the federal Food and Drug Administration has said that food extract treatments are ineffective.
They go through life complaining about a succession of colds that seem to plague them for no reason. The symptoms of a cold and of allergic rhinitis—hay fever—are almost identical: sneezing, stuffiness, a running nose, itching throat, weepy eyes. Allergy should be suspected when the symptoms do not go away, when they recur regularly (during the summer pollen season, for example), or when there are other symptoms of allergy: skin rashes, stomach and bowel problems such as persistent indigestion and abdominal pain, or breathing problems such as wheezing and shortness of breath.