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Diseases, disorders and conditions


During a skin prick test, a person is tested for allergic reactions to different substances. The skin is pricked with a tiny...Read More >>During a skin prick test, a person is tested for allergic reactions to different substances. The skin is pricked with a tiny amount of suspected allergens. If there is a reaction, the skin around the prick becomes itchy, red and swollen.

Allergies

An allergic reaction happens when a person’s immune system, which protects the body from disease, reacts to a usually harmless substance. Common allergens—causes of allergic reactions—include plant pollen, which causes hay fever, dust mites (which live among household dust and dirt), animal skin and hair, foods such as peanuts or shellfish, insect stings and particular medications. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include a runny nose, red eyes, itchiness, eczema, hives (a red, bumpy skin rash) and asthma attacks. Severe allergies can cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis, which may lead to swelling and breathing difficulties.
Anaphylaxis is treated with injections of the medicine adrenaline (also called epinephrine). Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that aims to reduce the body’s reaction to allergens by giving small, but increasing, doses of the allergen.

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