Spring into Allergies

Sunday, 01 September 2019 | Doctor Newsletter September 2019

Allergies are very common and increasing in Australia and New Zealand, affecting around one in three people at some time in their lives. There are many different causes of allergy, and symptoms vary from mild to potentially life-threatening.

Allergy occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless for most people. These substances are known as allergens and are found in house dust mites, pets, pollen, insects, moulds, foods and some medicines.

Allergic sensitivity tends to run in families. However, although there is a genetic (inherited) tendency to develop allergic diseases, allergy to a particular substance may not be inherited. Most people with allergies are affected by more than one allergen and everyone reacts differently; something that is a problem for one person may not be for someone else.

When ordering Allergy tests, we ask that you nominate which allergens you would like tested.

A comprehensive menu of allergens that we stock and test for is available to download (pdf link).

Contact your Client Liaison to request a booklet via busdev@clinpath.com.au

Some “allergy symptoms” may result from intolerance mechanisms (salicylates, amines, MSG, metabisulphite) and detection of IgE to them is not useful or possible. You can request the allergens using their alphanumeric codes.

Specific IgE is measured to confirm an allergic aetiology (cause) for symptoms when there is a history that suggests a possible allergic cause. 

All our specific IgE testing is now performed on the Phadia ImmunoCAP® system.

As the majority of published studies in allergy use this testing method, it is widely considered the benchmark for quantifying specific IgE. 

What symptoms might a patient experience?

  • Nose and/or eyes – hay fever (allergic rhinitis/conjunctivitis)
  • Skin – eczema, hives (urticarial)
  • Lungs – asthma
  • Skin – hives (urticarial)
  • Stomach or bowel – colic, cramps

Anaphylaxis is a less common but far more serious reaction that affects the whole body, can be life-threatening, and requires urgent medical treatment.

Some people may develop an intolerance to food, however this is not an allergic reaction. For example, with milk there may be an inability to digest lactose (milk sugar), however no allergen specific IgE is involved.

Some irritable bowel symptoms may be due to digestive enzyme deficiency resulting in intolerance to lactose*, sucrose, mannose or fructose, while other irritable bowel symptoms may benefit from a low fermentable (FODMAP) diet. 

To discuss available tests, please contact your GP Client Liaison or email busdev@clinpath.com.au

*Lactose tolerance testing is available