BY AN ALLERGIST
The allergist uses several complementary tools to draw up an allergy assessment, make a diagnosis, determine the allergens in question and the severity of the allergy, and decide on the best course of treatment for their patient.
Rigorous questioning- almost an investigation!
The practitioner will ask the patient to give details of their:
- Symptoms, the circumstances in which they are triggered, the speed with which they appear,
- “Tendency”: personal and family history of allergies, smoking, etc.,
- Environment and lifestyle.
The practitioner performs a general physical examination (weight, blood pressure, pulse, etc.) of the patient and examines the organs that may be affected: nose, eyes, throat and bronchial tubes for respiratory allergy.
The skin test to immediately reveal “your” allergens
This method consists of introducing a drop of allergen extract under the skin. The practitioner tests several suspected allergens revealed by the questioning. The results can be read after 20 minutes: a hypersensitivity reaction causes the skin to redden resembling a mosquito bite, with slight swelling and itching. This technique is quick and painless and can be performed on very young children.
Additional examinations, in case of doubt
If the result of the skin test is inconclusive or if it is negative but the symptoms persist, the allergist can resort to a blood test (“specific immunoglobulin research”). This will unequivocally identify the allergen in question.
If you suffer from breathing difficulties or wheezing, your doctor can carry out a “pulmonary function test”, in order to diagnose allergic asthma.