Allergies plague millions of Germans - almost every third person in the population is affected. In the case of an allergy, the immune system reacts to certain foreign but actually harmless substances with a wide variety of symptoms such as “stuffy nose”, watery eyes, skin rash and under certain circumstances swelling of the face and neck or shortness of breath and can be life-threatening (anaphylactic shock ). In most cases, an allergy is not triggered upon first contact with the substance, but only shows up after a sensitization phase, which can last hours, days or weeks.
A distinction can be made between inhalation, contact and food allergies - depending on how the body is confronted with the triggering allergen. Inhalation allergies are, for example, hay fever or house dust mite allergies. Contact allergies include latex allergies, nickel allergies or allergies to fragrances and preservatives in cosmetic products.
Animal hair, mold or pollen: Allergies can make life a misery for those affected. So-called "cross allergies" can develop, so that those suffering from hay fever can suddenly no longer eat nuts or fruit.
Typical allergy characteristics
- Swelling and redness of the skin or mucous membranes
- A runny nose and the urge to sneeze or even a dry nose
- Tingling, burning, and tearing eyes
- Anaphylactic shock
- Other unspecific symptoms such as diarrhea, headache, fatigue
Allergy symptoms can often be similar to symptoms of other diseases. In order to be able to make a reliable diagnosis, various allergy tests are required, which we carry out in our practice.
Diagnosis of allergies
The diagnosis of an allergy can be difficult and lengthy, because many diffrent triggers come into question. Allergens can be found in many objects of everyday life, such as cosmetics, leather, fabrics, dyes, food and much more. A detailed anamnesis and appropriate allergy tests can be used to find out which allergen is causing the allergy.
The experienced allergists at the Lake Constance laser clinic Dr. Braun can identify dangerous allergens using a wide variety of methods: the patch test, prick, scratch or intracutaneous tests or by means of a blood test to detect certain antibodies in our own allergy laboratory.
If hay fever, asthma, neurodermatitis, skin rashes or sensitive skin are known to run in the family, a child should be tested for the slightest symptom.
Our detailed diagnostics are the basis for the creation of an individual therapy concept under holistic medical aspects.
Therapy for allergies
In addition to avoiding contact with the triggering allergen and short-term treatment of symptoms with medication (antihistamines, glucocorticoids), hyposensitization/ desensitization can bring long-term improvement of the symptoms in many cases.
By injecting tiny amounts of the allergy-causing substances under the skin, the immune system gradually gets used to the allergens and the allergic reaction is weakened.
So-called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is relatively new, in which injections are no longer required and the therapy can be replaced by drops or tablets.
Adrenaline injections may also be required in the event of severe allergic reactions or impending anaphylactic shock.