Allergy is an incredibly common condition affecting both adults and children.
It happens when our immune system is oversensitive to certain things in the environment. Instead to fighting off bacteria and viruses, the immune system will target things we encounter in our day-to-day life.
Allergies can present in a variety of ways which can make diagnosis tricky.
Symptoms include, itchy, puffy eyes, sneezing, runny nose. Some people present with coughing, wheezing or skin rashes.
Some common allergens we see in Hong Kong includes house dust mites, mold, animal dander, milk, eggs and nuts.
It is important to identify what you are allergic to. This is especially important if you have a tendency to develop anaphylaxis. This form of allergic reaction occurs shortly after being exposed to an allergen. Typically, you will start to develop swelling around your mouth and tongue, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Identifying what triggers this can omit these circumstances.
If you suspect you or your child may have an allergy, please book an appointment with one of our GPs to discuss the next steps. Diagnosis begins with a careful evaluation of your clinical history and a physical examination. Individualised allergy tests can be arranged to identify specific allergens.
Food Intolerance vs food allergens
Many people use the term food intolerance interchangeably with food allergy. However, the two conditions are very different. Food intolerance happens when your digestive tract has trouble breaking down certain foods causing symptoms of bloating, tummy cramps and diarrhoea. An example of this is lactose, a sugar found in milk.
If you are unsure if you have a food intolerance or food allergy you should book an appointment with a GP to discuss your symptoms.