Allergies are a common health concern in Malaysia, with a significant proportion of the population experiencing allergic reactions to various substances. An allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction of the immune system to a specific substance, which can result in symptoms such as itching, swelling, hives, and difficulty breathing. The most common allergens in Malaysia include dust mites, pollen, animal dander, and food. Allergy health screening is an essential tool for diagnosing and treating allergies effectively. In this article, we will discuss allergy health screening for common allergies in Malaysia.
What is Allergy Health Screening?
Allergy health screening is a series of tests performed to identify the substances to which an individual is allergic. The screening process involves a physical examination, a detailed medical history, and various tests such as skin prick tests, blood tests, and patch tests. The results of allergy health screening help doctors to identify the cause of allergic reactions and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
- Skin Prick Tests
Skin prick tests involve applying a small amount of a suspected allergen to the skin, usually on the forearm or back. The skin is then pricked with a needle to allow the allergen to enter the skin. If a person is allergic to the substance, a small red bump will appear within 15 minutes. Skin prick tests are quick, painless, and accurate, making them an effective method for diagnosing allergies.
- Blood Tests
Blood tests, also known as specific IgE tests, measure the levels of specific antibodies in the blood that are produced in response to allergens. Blood tests are useful in diagnosing allergies to substances that cannot be tested using skin prick tests, such as drugs and certain foods. Blood tests are also useful for people who cannot undergo skin prick tests, such as those with severe eczema or taking antihistamines.
- Patch Tests
Patch tests are used to diagnose allergic reactions to substances that come into contact with the skin, such as metals, fragrances, and preservatives. During a patch test, small amounts of various substances are applied to adhesive patches, which are then placed on the skin. The patches are left on the skin for 48 hours, after which the doctor will check for any reactions. Patch tests are typically used to diagnose contact dermatitis.
Common Allergens in Malaysia
The most common allergens in Malaysia are dust mites, pollen, animal dander, and food. Dust mites are tiny creatures that live in mattresses, pillows, and carpets and can trigger allergies such as asthma and rhinitis. Pollen is a common allergen that causes seasonal allergies such as hay fever. Animal dander, the tiny flakes of skin shed by animals, can cause allergies in people who are sensitive to it. Food allergies are also common in Malaysia, with common allergens including peanuts, seafood, and soy.
Once an allergy has been diagnosed, treatment options include avoidance of the allergen, medication, and immunotherapy. Avoiding the allergen is the simplest and most effective way to prevent allergic reactions. Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays can be used to relieve symptoms. Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, involves receiving injections of small amounts of the allergen over time to desensitize the immune system.
Allergy health screening is an essential tool for diagnosing and treating allergies effectively. Skin prick tests, blood tests, and patch tests are commonly used to identify the substances to which an individual is allergic. Once an allergy has been diagnosed, treatment options include avoidance of the allergen, medication, and immunotherapy. By identifying and treating allergies early, individuals can prevent allergic reactions and lead a healthier, more comfortable life.