Updated 17 May 2017

Allergy? Do not be too sure

Do you have chronic allergy symptoms that never seem to respond to allergy medicines?


It's possible you may not be allergic at all and the medicines you take only drain your pocketbook and put you at risk of added discomfort from potential drug side effects. A recent study says that millions of Americans may suffer from suspected allergies that may actually be caused by another problem entirely.

Patients and doctors alike often make a presumptive diagnosis of allergies based on the symptoms, even though other conditions can cause similar sniffles, sneezes and congestion. These include sinus infections, cold air, sensitivity to chemicals such as perfume, and plain old dust.

Ohio State University pharmacy professor, Sheryl Szeinbach studied 246 patients who were being treated for allergies. She used a test that measures levels of an antibody known as immunoglobulin E, or IgE, which should be elevated in people with allergies, and the results revealed that nearly two-out-of-three patients being treated for allergies weren't suffering from allergic reactions.

People who suffer from allergy-like symptoms that resist treatment might ask their physician to order an IgE test to make sure an allergy is causing the problem.


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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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