Coastal Immunology and Allergy Clinic | Allergies
Coastal Immunology and Allergy Clinic offer expert diagnosis and management for adults and children with conditions within the spectrum of Immunological and Allergic disorders.
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Allergies

Coastal Immunology and Allergy Clinic has extensive experience in identifying and treating most allergies.

 

Allergy is very common in Australia, affecting around 20% of people. An allergic reaction occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to substances (allergens) that do not affect most people.

 

This leads to inflammation (redness and swelling), and to the following conditions – Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever), Eczema or urticaria (hives), allergies to food, medications, insects, grasses and pollens, moulds and other allergens, Anaphylaxis (severe life-threatening allergic reaction) and asthma.

 

Some people may experience an intolerance to foods or environment, rather than an actual allergic reaction.

 

Note: we do not test for chemicals, metals, medications or perfumes.

For these types of allergy testing please contact RNSH (Royal North Shore Hospital) Allergy Clinic on tel: 02-9439 9360.

List of Allergies:

Atopic dermatitis (commonly known as eczema) is an inherited, chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually appears in early childhood. Patches of skin become red, scaly and itchy. Sometimes, tiny blisters containing clear fluid can form and the affected areas of skin can weep. Weeping is a sign that the dermatitis has become infected, usually with the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (‘golden staph’).

 

Eczema is not contagious.

 

Eczema can vary in severity and symptoms may flare up or subside from day to day.

 

Children with eczema have a higher risk of developing food allergies, asthma and hay fever later in childhood.

Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

 

Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 3 and up to 3 percent of adults. While there’s no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older.

 

It’s easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. While bothersome, food intolerance is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system.  For some people, an allergic reaction to a particular food may be uncomfortable but not severe. For other people, an allergic food reaction can be frightening and even life-threatening. Food allergy symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food.

 

The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth
  • Hives, itching or eczema
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, light-headedness or fainting

Due to the necessity of having immediate emergency hospital resources in close proximity if required, we do not test for medication, chemical or metal allergies at CIAAC.

 

Please contact the Royal North Shore Hospital Allergy Clinic on tel: 02-9439 9360 to enquire about these types of allergy testing.

Grasses are one of the most common causes of allergy. Each year, plants (including grasses) release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species.

 

Unfortunately for people with grass allergies, this pollen triggers allergic reactions.

 

Symptoms of a grass pollen allergy include:

 

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, eyes, ears and mouth
  • Stuffy nose (nasal congestion)
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Swelling around the eyes

 

You may not see the grass pollen in the air, but your body can react to even small amounts. Many people know pollen allergy as “hay fever.”

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is one of the most common allergic conditions affecting 1 in 5 people in Australia. It is caused by the body’s immune system reacting to common allergens in the environment such as pollen, house dust mite, moulds and animal danders (skin cells and fur).

The symptoms of mould allergy are very similar to the symptoms of other allergies, such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion and dry, scaling skin. Mould spores get into your nose and cause hay fever symptoms. Symptoms often get worse in a damp or mouldy room like a basement. This may mean you have a mould allergy.

The most common causes of severe bite and sting allergy in Australia are:

 

  • Bee sting (honey bee and native Australian bees)
  • Wasp sting (paper wasp and European wasp)
  • Ant sting (jack jumper, green-head, bulldog ants)

 

Other insects such as ticks, caterpillars, March flies and even bedbugs can also trigger allergies.

 

Individuals can have a range of allergic reactions to stings bites but not all are serious.

 

Those at greatest risk of serious allergic reactions to insect stings are those who have experienced symptoms involving the heart and blood vessels and/or symptoms involving breathing difficulty following a sting previously. Adults are at greater risk of anaphylactic reactions from insect stings than children.

 

Any child or adult who has experienced a reaction away from the actual site of the sting e.g. hives all over the body should be referred to an allergy specialist for investigation.

Asthma attacks all age groups but often starts in childhood. It is a chronic disease involving the airways (tubes) that carry air in and out of the lungs. These airways are inflamed in people with asthma. The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and the tubes often react to allergens or irritations. There is no cure for asthma. But with the proper diagnosis, medication and an asthma management plan, symptoms can be controlled.

 

Asthma symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and trouble breathing, especially early in the morning or at night. In a severe asthma attack, the airways close so much that other vital organs in the body do not get enough oxygen.

 

Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines. Long-term controller medications are typically taken daily to prevent symptoms. Quick-relief medicines stop asthma symptoms when they occur.

 

Many people have “allergic asthma” which means that allergens like dust mites, mould, animal dander, pollen and cockroaches make asthma symptoms worse.

 

Others have asthma symptoms only when exercising or playing a sport. This is called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

In some people, a food allergy can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This can cause life-threatening signs and symptoms, including:

 

  • Constriction and tightening of the airways
  • A swollen throat or the sensation of a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness, light-headedness or loss of consciousness

Psoriasis, a chronic, recurrent inflammatory skin disorder.  It occurs when immune cells known as T lymphocytes, or T cells, attack healthy skin cells in both the nonvascular horny outer layer of the skin and its deeper vascular layer. This attack causes the life span of the skin cells to shorten to about 3 – 5 days (skin cells normally live about 20 – 28 days) and forces the cells to reproduce more rapidly than normal, creating lesions. In most cases, the lesions tend to be symmetrically distributed on the elbows and knees, scalp, chest, and buttocks. The lesions may remain small and solitary or coalesce into large plaques that often form geometrical patterns with a central area of normal skin.

IMMUNOTHERAPY

 

Long-term desensitisation, called immunotherapy, can be undertaken for a variety of allergens, to train a person’s immune system to not react to the allergen they are allergic to. Immunotherapy takes between 3-5 years.

 

It typically involves weekly injections for the first 3 months, and then injections at longer intervals.

 

Once on an established schedule, your GP can take over the monthly injections for you.

Make a booking with one of our dedicated team members.