The number of people who struggle with allergies has steadily increased over the past several years. The causes for this trend include increases in the impact of environmental toxins such as emissions, but they also include smoking, stress and changes in diet and lifestyle.
Allergies are diagnosed using different tests
- Patch test (for contact allergies)
- Prick test (used to test for allergies to pollen, animal hair, wasps/bees and dust)
- Intracutaneous test (similar to the prick test, but more sensitive)
- Scratch test (primarily used in patients on medication)
- RAST test (a blood test of antibodies)
Allergies caused by airborne substances (hay fever, asthma) can be triggered by pollen, mites, animal hair and mold, and the tests mentioned above can be used to detect them.
Hives (urticaria) are often caused by diet, medication or wasp / bee stings. Repeated contact with these allergens can lead to anaphylactic shock.
Hyposensitivity — a very specific kind of immunotherapy — is one of the most effective methods for treating allergies: here, the cause is treated, and not only the symptoms. Hyposensitivity is a form of vaccination therapy (also available as drops or tablets) which is conducted in three successive years to achieve long-term immunization. The success rate is especially high in treating allergies to pollen, mites and wasp venom.