If you need a private allergy specialist or want more information on allergy testing:
What is an allergy?
An allergy is caused when the body’s protective immune system responds to a substance that it comes in contact with (either eaten, touched or inhaled) which it mistakenly sees as harmful. This substance causes production of antibodies (IgE) which release histamine. Histamine causes the reactions individuals see in the form of symptoms such as asthma, swelling of the throat and skin irritation. Anaphylactic shock is the most serious and dangerous of allergic reactions, this being when the full immune defense response is provoked, which can be life threatening. Allergic reactions are normally immediate on contact with the substance/food.
What is an allergen?
An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Allergens contain proteins, which are present in all foods. The most common foods that cause allergic reactions are milk, egg, tree nut, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, shell fish and pan fish (perch, cod). However, our bodies can potentially react to any foods.
An undetected allergy or intolerance can lead to a later cross over reaction to other foods, however, in many instances difficulties arise in pinpointing the food allergens involved in causing allergy symptoms. Allergic conditions can be diagnosed in various ways, such as skin or blood tests and will help to identify the foods or substances that induces allergic responses or symptoms.