Allergies have already become a common disease. The causes are manifold: among other things, it plays an important role that children encounter allergens only relatively late. Many studies have shown that children raised in high-allergen environments, for example on a farm, are much less likely to have problems with the high concentration of allergens such as animal hair, pollen, milk protein or similar that are found there. Similarly, children who encounter a wide range of foods early on are less likely to experience food allergies. The immune system develops a certain tolerance to the allergens in these cases. An important factor in allergies is that there are many chemically modified substances in our environment today. These can often trigger an allergic reaction (food!), But we must also mention one important fact: many different ailments are generalized as an allergy without prior diagnostic confirmation. In addition, scientifically unverified examination methods (e.g. IgG test) are offered, and often, non-existing allergies are diagnosed with those.
Established allergy diagnostics is based on three important pillars.
The first one is the anamnesis: in case of allergies, we need to clearly identify the factors in question. The most important questions are: when, where and how do the symptoms occur? Like that, we are able to narrow down the possible factors in advance.
The second step is laboratory testing to complement and support this data. Modern laboratory diagnostics offers increasingly more possibilities to accurately identify the allergens.
The third important component is the skin test (prick test). The allergens are scratched into the skin and the local reaction is precisely documented.
Ultimately, we need to determine the main allergies from these data. Sometimes it is very difficult because many substances can cross-react. Once we have identified the main allergies based on all the data with high certainty, however, there is the possibility of the specific immunotherapy or desensitization already mentioned. This form of therapy takes years to achieve lasting success.
The modern therapy of allergies is also built upon this basis. In so-called desensitization, or specific immunotherapy (SIT), the pathogenic allergens are administered regularly to achieve tolerance and reduce the response to them.
Another very important factor in allergies is allergen concentration. Otherwise non-allergic persons may develop clinical symptoms due to a very high concentration of allergens, such as high pollen load.