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Find out the answers to the most common questions our doctors are asked. If you can’t find the answer to your question, ask online or by phone and we’ll answer it for you.
Allergies start when our immune system goes into overdrive. This is when the immune system reacts aggressively and overreacts to substances that are not harmful to us: food, pollen, pets or other irritants.
There is no single reason. Inherited genetic information, an infant’s overly sterile environment when growing up, restricted intake of certain foods in early childhood, contaminated living or working environments, frequent viral infections – there are countless factors that create the right conditions for allergic disease to develop.
An allergen is a substance that triggers an unfriendly immune response and the symptoms of allergic disease. An allergen can be any substance that surrounds a person: food, pollen, dust, mould, medicines, semen, or pets (not only their fur, but also their saliva, urine or skin cells).
No. Hypoallergenic products are generally defined as products that do not contain the most common, or “major”, allergens. However, whether a product is right for you depends on what you are sensitive to.
No. It is wrong to say that one breed or another of dog/cat cannot cause an allergic reaction. The most important thing in this case is to know exactly what protein the person is sensitive to. For example, it is known that as many as 30 per cent of all people who experience unpleasant symptoms in the company of a dog are sensitive to a prostate protein. Therefore, such persons can safely keep female dogs at home. It is therefore a good idea to consult an allergist before making an important decision about a pet.
Allergies to medicines are not common. It is important to remember that unpleasant sensations or symptoms caused by taking a medicine are not necessarily an allergy. If an allergy to a medication is suspected, it should always be confirmed by specific tests. If your suspicions are confirmed, your allergist-clinical immunologist will advise you on how you should act in the future.
No. The immune system remembers the substance it dislikes for a very long time, and as soon as the allergen enters the body, it immediately starts fighting it.
The answer depends on which group of allergens the person is sensitive to. To date food allergies are still incurable. Meanwhile sensitisation to dust, pollen or pets is treated with allergen-specific immunotherapy.
It is a long-term, individually tailored treatment with low doses of allergens to alter the immune system’s response to the substances administered. In other words, the immune system becomes accustomed to the allergen, so that the symptoms of allergic disease disappear or become barely noticeable.
No. Immunotherapies can be administered sublingually or in tablets. If the injectable form of treatment is chosen, the medicine is injected under the skin with a fine needle, so it does not hurt any more than a mosquito sting.
This is a long-term treatment that lasts between 3 and 5 years.
The blood test determines the amount of a specific protein – immunoglobulin E – produced against a specific substance (allergen). An increase in this protein indicates sensitisation but does not confirm allergic disease. Therefore, the interpretation of the test results should always be made by a doctor who will identify the allergens that are relevant to you and how the identified disease should be treated.
Actual, confirmed food allergy is not very common in Lithuania. The most common causes of allergic disease are sensitisation to cow’s milk protein, fish, nuts, egg white, wheat, and soya.
Food allergens are detected by skin prick test, by measuring concentrations of food-specific immunoglobulin E in blood samples, by provocation test, or by using the food elimination diet.
The patch test is thought to detect chronic allergic reactions caused by food allergens (a condition in which clinical symptoms appear within a few days of eating the suspected food). However, this test is not universally validated, is not recommended by international diagnostic guidelines, and is not performed by many global allergy centres due to its low accuracy and reliability.
An allergy is an overactive and strong reaction of the immune system to non-harmful substances. Therefore, the immune system does not really need additional boosting in the case of allergic disease. Most of the time, simply living an active, interesting, and healthy life is enough. If required, your consultant may recommend vitamin D supplementation or measures to restore and nurture the microbiota.
Anaphylaxis is a rapid allergic reaction that occurs within 5-30 minutes after contact with an allergen. Its characteristic symptoms affect several organ systems. That is, several ailments occur simultaneously. Patients usually experience weakness, shortness of breath, severe pain in the abdomen or stomach area, swelling of the face, hoarseness of the voice, and swelling of the skin.
For people at high risk of anaphylaxis, doctors prescribe adrenaline autoinjectors to be used in case of first aid. After first aid – even if the person feels fine – it is always necessary to call an ambulance or immediately go to the emergency room.
This is certainly not the case and has never happened to anyone. If you think so, consult an allergist-clinical immunologist who will help you find out what the allergens are and, once you are reassured, pave the way to a normal, high-quality, and fulfilling life.
The risk of developing allergic disease can be significantly reduced. All you need to do is to allow yourself or your child to live a normal life, not be afraid of getting cold, hot, or sweaty, eat wholesome food, and avoid unnecessary use of medications – especially antibiotics.
No. A blood test detects inhaled or food allergens. In contrast, such a test is completely meaningless to assess, for example, chemical sensitisation. Therefore, if you want to save both time and money, consult an allergist-clinical immunologist before any test.
Definitely not. An immune disorder should be suspected if the child or adult has ever had a very serious infection requiring hospitalisation or intensive care. If there are several recurrent pneumonias, ear infections or sinus infections in one-year, special tests should also be carried out to assess the immune system.
A food allergy is an immune system reaction that can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild (such as a rash on the skin of the body) to very dangerous (such as anaphylactic shock). If it is detected, it is recommended to avoid consuming even the smallest amounts of the identified allergen. Meanwhile food intolerance is a difficulty in digesting a certain type of food, which can cause unpleasant sensations (bloating, stomach pain, diarrhoea, nausea) that are not life-threatening.
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