‘Allergy’ is the name of an immune system reaction that results in an abnormal response of the body. Allergy is a form of hypersensitivity to environmental materials, called allergens. An allergic reaction is actually an overreaction of the human immune system responding inappropriately to harmless foreign substances.
An allergic reaction does not occur at first contact with the allergen. The development of an allergy occurs in two phases. After a first exposure to the allergen, a sensitisation occurs. The body will create Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies against the allergen. After repeated contact with the allergen, an allergic reaction occurs because the immune system is mistakenly reacting to the allergen. Allergic rhinitis, asthma and atopic eczema are typical of two-phase allergies.
In detail: IgE (in large numbers) bind to incoming allergens. After multiple contacts, the mucous membranes of immune cells and white blood cells are brought in to deposit their contents (including histamine) on the allergen. These, in turn, cause a number of changes in the human body, such as dilation of blood vessels, narrowing of the airways and disruption of the heart rhythm. This is what we would term an allergic reaction.
Most common allergic diseases
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that causes the trachea to contract when an individual is exercising or through exposure to allergens. It is manifested, among other things, by shortness of breath in the upper chest, wheezing and coughing.
Allergic Rhinitis (Rhino-conjunctivitis) – Hay Fever
Rhino-conjunctivitis is hypersensitivity or an overreaction of the immune system to irritating environmental factors such as tree pollens, grass pollen and herb pollen or sometimes also fungal spores. This condition is characterised by irritation or inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose and eyes, usually of a recurrent nature.
Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis occurs mainly in spring and summer when pollen is present in the air. Mites can also cause allergic rhinitis, eczema or asthma. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are runny and/or stuffy nose, scratchy nose and sneezing. Symptoms of the allergic conjunctivitis type are red eyes that run, itchy.
Anaphylaxis does not happen often but is the most lethal cause of allergy. Anaphylaxis is described by experts as a serious, rapid reaction, a life-threatening allergic reaction. The immune system responds excessively to harmless dust, which can lead to death if we do not intervene immediately. The main causes of anaphylaxis are food, processed food additives, certain medicines and a bee or wasp sting on the skin. In this case, the danger sign is when there is has a remote reaction to the place where the individual has been stung, which must be halted by use of an Epi-Pen – without waiting!
The risk factors for anaphylaxis that affect children and young people are:
• mild reaction in the preceding weeks,
• excessive internal body temperatures (very cold or very hot).
Forest Medical Spirometer Calibration
Spirometry is a breathing or ‘lung function’ test. It’s one of the most common tests people with asthma or people who are being tested for asthma, are given. Your GP or asthma nurse will ask you to take a deep breath and then breathe out as fast as you can and for as long as you can through a mouthpiece linked to a ‘Spirometer’. You will have to blow a few times so your GP or asthma nurse can get an accurate result.
As with all medical equipment, Spirometers need thorough and comprehensive testing on a regular basis. Failure to adequately test a Spirometer puts it at risk of failure or of false readings being displayed from the equipment, which can have disastrous results.
We undertake thorough Spirometer Calibration to fully test your machines and ensure that they are safe and suitable for use.