oa Professional Nursing Today - Investigation of the allergic patient : the importance of early diagnosis : allergology
Allergy diagnosis is based on careful history taking and tests selected according to the age, geographical location, occupation and the clinical profile of the patient. Early diagnosis (as young as 3 months of age) assists with prevention of severe type I reactions, the management of atopic eczema flares and the prevention of asthma. <br>Allergy tests for foods now have cutoff values that can predict with confidence a 95% chance of developing a clinical reaction to that food if challenged with it. Inhalant allergy tests are selected based on the geographical location of the patient. Testing for non-IgE-mediated reactions may be conducted using elimination challenge diets or using the CAST test for preservative sensitivities. <br>Elimination challenge diets have an important role to play in the selection of specific tests to identify foods responsible for adverse reactions. Western blots and in-house ELISAs are important tools for the identification of specific IgE responses to indigenous allergens and 'now' allergens which are not yet commercially available.
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