Is It Allergy? [PDF] - Gamma-Dynacare

Is It Allergy? [PDF] - Gamma-Dynacare

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

following websites:



1.800.697.3831 (Quebec)

1.800.668.2714 (Ontario and the rest of Canada)

» sneezing? » wheezing?

» stuffy nose? » itchy eyes?

» rashes? » diarrhea?

» nausea?

is it allergy?



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.




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:

» Eggs

» Fish and shellfish

» Milk and other dairy products

» Peanuts and other tree nuts

» Wheat

» Soy

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

» Cockroaches

» Mosquitoes

* 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.

airborne particles

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


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.


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


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