IS IT aN allergy?
Over the last decade, allergic reactions or
allergies have become more prevalent. Allergies
have become one of the most common chronic
illnesses, affecting 1 in 5 children. Early
diagnosis is important as children affected with
allergies early in life are more prone to develop
other related diseases in their later years.
Food allergies occur mostly in young children
and many will eventually outgrow them. For
some children, there may be a progressive
development of allergies throughout their
childhood. Clinical conditions such as eczema,
rhinitis or asthma may be allergy-based
symptoms. If allergies are left undiagnosed and
untreated, allergic reactions or their progression
may have a profound effect on one’s physical
and emotional quality of life.
Finding out if symptoms are caused by allergic
reactions is critical to diagnosis and treatment.
For more information, check out the
1.800.668.2714 (Ontario and the rest of Canada)
» sneezing? » wheezing?
» stuffy nose? » itchy eyes?
» rashes? » diarrhea?
is it allergy?
FIND OUT NOW THrOUgH a SIMPle
Talk to your doctor TODAY.
WHaT caUSeS allergy?
Allergies are abnormal reactions to things that to
most people, are typically harmless. When exposed to
allergens such as certain foods, pollens, dust or medicine,
our immune system mistakenly believes that these
substances are harmful to the body and will produce
antibodies for these allergens. These antibodies then
cause certain cells in the body to release histamine into
the bloodstream, causing allergic reactions that occur in
a person’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs or gastrointestinal
tract. Each time you become exposed to this allergen, you
will have an allergic reaction.
WHaT are SOMe OF THe MOST cOMMON
Some food allergies may be serious, while others may just
cause symptoms such as an itchy rash, a stuffy nose or
diarrhea. Some of the most common food allergies are
caused by ingesting:
» Fish and shellfish
» Milk and other dairy products
» Peanuts and other tree nuts
Insect bites and stings
Insect venom can cause an allergic reaction. This may be
quite severe and can cause an “anaphylactic reaction”*
in some people. The most common bites and stings are
» Bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets
* An anaphylactic reaction is a very severe immune system reaction,
for example causing the airways (throat, mouth and nose) to swell so
dramatically as to prevent breathing. An anaphylactic reaction can
also cause severe wheezing or a fatal drop in blood pressure.
The following are the most common airborne allergens,
also known as ‘environmental allergens’:
» Dust mites
» Mold spores
» Animal fur and dander (flakes of dried skin)
» Pollen from grass, weeds and trees
WHaT are THe SyMPTOMS? HOW DO I kNOW
IT’S aN allergIc reacTION?
Allergic reactions can occur in different parts of the body:
» Nose: excessive sneezing; itchy, runny, and stuffy.
» Eyes: dark circles under the eyes; itchy, red and watery.
» Skin: hives, itchy rashes, swelling, scaling.
» Lungs: coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and
shortness of breath.
» Gastrointestinal symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, colic,
constipation, bloody stools, flatulence, abdominal
pain, and regurgitation.
HOW are allergIeS DIagNOSeD?
Family history, personal history and a physical
examination will help determine if symptoms are caused
by an allergy. If allergies are suspected, there are two
tests available to aid in the diagnosis:
» Skin prick test: This test is done by placing a small
amount of the possible allergen on the skin. Then the
skin is gently scratched. If there is a reaction, it is
possible that there is an allergy to that substance.
» Blood test: A small amount of blood is drawn. Over
30 different allergens such as food, animal dander,
pollens, mold, trees, weeds, grasses, and insect
venom can be measured in one draw.
Gamma-Dynacare’s ImmunocaP® blood test has the
following advantages over the skin prick test:
» Medication does not influence the result, so you don’t
have to stop your medication.
» A single blood sample can determine over 30
» There is absolutely NO RISK of an anaphylactic
» Should you have a skin condition, there is no risk of
» The test can be ordered by your family physician.
WHaT TreaTMeNTS are avaIlaBle?
Avoidance, for some allergies such as food, may be the
only treatment, but care should be taken to maintain
adequate nutritional levels. For some people, avoidance
may be enough to prevent allergy symptoms, thus,
relieving them of medications or other treatments.
Medications and allergy shots
Medications are usually used to treat allergies and help
control the allergy symptoms.
Epinephrine, commonly known as the “EpiPen”, is a fast
acting medicine that can help offset an anaphylactic
Allergy shots, also called “immunotherapy,” are given to
increase a person’s tolerance to the allergens that provoke
allergy symptoms. They usually are recommended for
people who suffer from severe allergies or for those who
have allergy symptoms more than 3 months each year.
They do not cure allergies, but reduce your immune
system reaction to the allergen.
WHaT DO I DO NexT?
If you or one of your children have symptoms possibly
caused by allergic reactions, talk to your family physician
about getting a blood test for allergy TODAY!
Should your blood test yield positive results, a referral
to a specialist for ongoing assessment and treatment is