What is causing your allergy?

pdfASCIA PCC What is causing your allergy144.04 KB

The first step in the management of allergic disease is identifying the allergen/s causing the problem. In some cases this may be obvious. Others may require medical evaluation using proven investigational tools. Once the allergen/s are identified, steps can be taken to minimise the risk of exposure.

Keeping a record of symptoms is important

Diagnosing an allergy requires considerable medical expertise, since the symptoms may often be similar to other conditions. For instance, many people suffer from a repeated sore throat and runny nose which they think is a recurrent cold, when in fact they may be suffering from allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Allergy may be responsible for other conditions such as asthma, upset stomach and skin rashes.

Keeping a record of your symptoms is the first step in identifying the allergen to which you are allergic. The following information may be useful:

  • Do your symptoms occur when you are inside the house, outside the house or both inside and outside?
  • Do you suffer more at night time or during the day?
  • Do you wake up with symptoms in the morning?
  • Do you only get symptoms at certain times of the year?
  • Does exposure to animals bring on your symptoms?
  • Do you think that any food or drink brings on your symptoms?

Seek medical advice 

If you think you are suffering from an allergy, visit your doctor or pharmacist for advice. They will want to know the history of your complaint, so the more information you can give them, the better.

Your doctor may do some tests to determine the cause of your allergy or may recommend that you visit a clinical immunology/allergy specialist for further tests and treatment.

Investigation of food allergy can be a particularly involved procedure requiring specialist medical knowledge.

Information about allergy testing is available on the ASCIA website: www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-testing 

Effective prevention and treatment options for allergy are available

Aeroallergen minimisation and food allergen avoidance information is available from the ASCIA website:


© ASCIA 2017

ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand

Website: www.allergy.org.au 
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Postal address: PO Box 450 Balgowlah NSW 2093 Australia

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by ASCIA members and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.  Development of this document is not funded by any commercial sources and is not influenced by commercial organisations.

Content last updated 2017

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