Diagnosing A Pollen Allergy

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Diagnosing A Pollen Allergy
Diagnosing A Pollen Allergy
Video: Diagnosing A Pollen Allergy
Video: Allergy - Mechanism, Symptoms, Risk factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention, Animation 2023, February

Pollen allergy: diagnosis

There are various methods for diagnosing a pollen allergy. A lot can already be found out about a possible allergy risk by collecting the medical history (anamnesis). Typical symptoms such as runny nose at certain times or conjunctivitis provide clues.

In addition to the detailed questioning of the patient, it is above all special allergy tests that are necessary for an exact diagnosis. Skin tests can be used to monitor any skin reactions that may indicate an allergy. However, other allergy testing options, such as blood tests, are also part of allergy diagnostics.


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  • Which symptoms can occur with pollen allergy?
  • Complications of pollen allergy
  • How is the diagnosis of a pollen allergy made?
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

Which symptoms can occur with pollen allergy?

The pollen allergy is a so-called inhalation allergy, as the pollen is inhaled. The symptoms of a pollen allergy can affect the whole body and are not limited to the nose (urge to sneeze, nostrils, itching of the nose, swollen nasal mucosa, etc.). If the eyelids are also swollen with watery, itchy eyes, this is called allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, a form of conjunctivitis of the eye. You may also experience other symptoms, such as:

  • General feeling of illness,
  • A headache,
  • Fatigue,
  • To cough,
  • Shortness of breath as well
  • Sleep disorders.

The severity of these symptoms usually depends on the pollen concentration in the air. A pollen allergy is rarely noticeable before the age of five, but mostly before the age of twenties. Once the allergy has broken out, it comes back every year.

Complications of pollen allergy

A number of complications can occur with a pollen allergy, such as other allergies or allergic asthma:

  • Food allergies: Around half of those affected by pollen allergies also suffer from a special form of food allergy - the oral allergy syndrome. This manifests itself as itching on the roof of the mouth, lips, cheeks or in the throat while eating. Often, swelling of the mucous membranes occurs at the same time in the mentioned areas. Allergens from nuts or from fresh, raw stone / pome fruit play a role here. It is important to note that allergic people are always allergic - even outside the pollen season. This explains the year-round cross-reactions to food (eg birch-apple).
  • Asthma: Many pollen allergy sufferers develop an overreaction of the bronchi when the pollen blooms for a long time. Often times, the first signs of allergic asthma only show up during physical exertion. It is important to treat such an asthmatic disease in good time so that it does not become chronic.
  • Expansion of the allergen spectrum: If a pollen allergy is not treated in time with specific immunotherapy, the allergy spectrum can expand. This means that over time, patients may also react more intensely to other environmental allergens, such as house dust mites, mold spores or pets.

How is the diagnosis of a pollen allergy made?

The doctor first collects the medical history (anamnesis) and complaints (including a physical examination such as eavesdropping or a nose inspection). Once the first signs of a pollen allergy have been discovered, it is important to find out whether one is actually present. For this it is necessary to carry out an allergy test. Do not wait too long to have a possible allergy clarified. For example, hay fever is often mistaken for a simple cold. The familial risk of an allergy can already be recorded while the medical history is being collected. An allergy diary can help to record the course of the symptoms and to assign them.

Prick test

This test is the standard test for determining immediate type allergies. A grid is drawn on the forearm. A solution containing an allergen is then applied in drop form to each field. A small piercing instrument, a lancet, is then used to scratch the skin below the drop of solution just one millimeter deep. Reactions of the skin can be observed after twenty minutes at the latest: reddening and wheals.

Provocation test

In the provocation test, an allergen is applied to the affected area (e.g. eyes, nasal mucosa) or inhaled. Due to the increased risk of complications, this test is only carried out in specialized facilities and is almost never necessary for clarifying pollen allergies and is therefore rarely used.

Laboratory tests

In blood tests, the allergy-specific antibodies are determined - especially before a possible specific immunotherapy (hypo- or desensitization). The classic serological allergy tests are:

  • Determination of the total IgE value as more general information about the allergenic tendency of the organism.
  • Determination of allergen-specific IgE antibodies for the precise diagnosis of an allergy.

If the complaints also affect the deeper airways, laboratory values ​​are also determined that are related to the severity of the allergic inflammation. The laboratory results are evaluated after about a week. You can find detailed information under “Allergy” laboratory values ​​table.

Whom can I ask?

There are special facilities for diagnosing allergies such as pollen allergies - e.g. allergy outpatient clinics. You will receive the necessary referral from your general practitioner. Inquire in advance at outpatient clinics whether it is necessary to make an appointment and take your e-card with you.

Other points of contact are specialists in ear, nose and throat medicine (ENT), dermatology, pulmonology and paediatrics.

How are the costs going to be covered?

The e-card is your personal key to the benefits of the statutory health insurance. All necessary and appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic measures are taken over by your responsible social insurance agency. A deductible or contribution to costs may apply for certain services. You can obtain detailed information from your social security agency. You can also find further information at:

  • Visit to the doctor: costs and deductibles
  • Prescription fee: This is how drug costs are covered
  • Medical aids & aids

and via the online guide to reimbursement of social insurance costs.

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