Any kind of medical condition can be irritating, but the irritation that comes with having some part of the natural world conspiring to sicken or kill you is a more serious issue. I am of course talking about allergies, which can range from being an irritant, to potentially life threatening.
An allergy is essentially an overreaction by your body to what should be considered a harmless substance. But instead your immune system views it as a hostile invader, producing antibodies that can cause the symptoms we associate with an allergic reaction.
The Allergy Clinic in Galway specialises in reliable testing for allergies among the wide array of things people are exposed to on a daily basis in the air we breathe, foods that we eat, and more.
Based in the Galway Clinic in Doughiska, the Allergy Clinic is easily accessible. The clinic guarantees that in almost all cases patients can walk in the front door, and within an hour not only will they have been seen, but they’ll have the results of their tests in hand on their way home.
While the clinic takes referrals from GPs and hospitals, there’s no need to go see your doctor to get an appointment. The clinic is happy to take self-referrals, with no lengthy waiting lists to be seen.
If you’re considering whether it’s worth getting tested for an allergy, consider if you have a family history of allergies or asthma, either of which make it more likely that you either have an allergy, or could develop one.
For parents, it is also worth considering taking your child to be tested for allergies. If they have an allergy, then they’ll thank you for catching it earlier in their life.
For some allergies, managing them in your lifestyle may be a simple matter, as easy as avoiding certain specific foods. But other allergens may be more difficult to avoid in your environment or in your diet.
This can be an overwhelming amount of information for people to take in, let alone to then try and figure out what kind of lifestyle adjustments they need to make.
“Here in The Allergy Clinic we support our patients through their allergy diagnosis by creating a full management and treatment plan for each patient,£ explains Joyce Clegg, Managing Director of The Allergy Clinic.
“For instance, following a skin prick allergy test if we find you have an allergy that needs specialist attention, we can make that referral directly for our patients on the same day.
“We work alongside highly revered specialist in the field of Respiratory, Dermatology, and Dietary in Galway. We also update our patients GP’s with their results for their medical records.”
The Allergy Clinic remains open despite the current Level 5 lockdown, and patients are still welcome and encouraged to make an appointment.
Testing for Allergies
Part of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating allergies is first of all figuring out what it is a person is allergic to. In some cases it may be obvious, but often there could be many different environmental factors responsible for an allergy.
There are multiple ways of testing for an allergy, but it’s not a case of needing a different specialist procedure for every possible allergen.
The Skin Prick Test is the gold standard for allergy testing, capable of testing a wide range of substances quickly and easily.
The Skin Prick Test is as simple as a test could be, involving controlled exposure to potential allergens at a small scratch on the skin of a person’s arms.
The benefit of this test is that it allows multiple different potential allergens to be tested at once, with visible results within 20 minutes.
While this is the most broadly applicable test, other specialist methods are also available, such as the Patch Test. This detects allergies for substances that commonly come in contact with a person’s skin, such as cosmetics, sun screen, metals, and more.
On top of these environmental factors, the Allergy Clinic is also the only facility in Ireland that commonly tests for allergic reactions to penicillin. The importance of this simply cannot be overstated, as penicillin is the most widely used antibiotic in the field of medicine.
Finding out if you are allergic to penicillin before getting treatment for a serious infection could be the difference between life and death in that scenario. And for the remainder of your life it is important information to have in case of a medical emergency.
Symptoms and Medical Issues
There are a wide range of symptoms from allergic reactions that can vary from being an irritation in your daily life, to serious medical complications that can potentially cost someone their life.
Allergic reactions can vary depending on what it is you are allergic to. Sneezing, itching of the eyes and nose, or a runny nose are common symptoms of hay fever for instance.
If you’re allergic to certain types of food this puts you at risk of swelling in the face, throat, or mouth, hives, along with possible breathing problems and severe localised swelling.
Many allergies can be treated with antihistamines, Joyce explains, depending on the substances that you are allergic to, and the severity of your allergic reaction to it.
“The body’s a very funny thing. When it decides that it doesn’t like something, trying to change its mind can be tricky,” Joyce acknowledges.
“But the goal is that there is always a treatment. You don’t have to live with the symptoms, you can treat them like any other illness, the important thing is knowing what to treat.”
However, while many allergies and their symptoms can be considered manageable, one life threatening allergic reaction that can never be set aside is anaphylaxis, which can be commonly caused by a severe food, insect sting, or medicine allergies.
Anaphylaxis can cause nausea and vomiting, a dangerous swelling of the airway, lightheadedness, a weak pulse or a drop in blood pressure, or a loss of consciousness. In the worst cases, anaphylaxis can cause a person to go into shock.
Working alongside Dr.Harry Beauchamp, The Allergy Clinic also specializes in Urticaria – intense body itch or rash, Immunotherapy, Rhinitis, Sinusitis and chronic cough.
If any of that litany of nasty conditions sounds like something you would like to avoid in your life, then consider making an appointment with the Allergy Clinic in Doughiska. To get in touch call 091 720277, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For people who might be leery of coming into a medical setting in the current circumstances due to COVID-19, Joyce is clear that they are very stringent in following all the guidelines and recommendations of the HSE.
Firstly, they can provide support and consultation over the phone, “So if we have someone that’s nervous about coming in, we would give them support over the lockdown period.”
And for people who do come in, The Allergy Clinic enforces mask wearing for patients and staff, and all of the treatment rooms are sanitised before and after consultations. “Patient and staff safety is always our top priority at The Allergy Clinic.
“People should not continue to suffer with undiagnosed allergies when a medical practitioner can help them,” Joyce finishes.