Your body's immune system reacting to a substance by producing antibodies.
About one in six people have allergies and the trend is rising.
At Cromwell Hospital, we are dedicated to diagnosing allergies quickly and helping you find the right treatment.
When you have an allergy, it means that your body's immune system reacts to an allergen. This happens when your immune system mistakes the allergen for a harmful invader and produces antibodies.
Whether your allergies are mild – such as hayfever, or severe – such as a life-threatening reaction to food, it is important to have the most appropriate diagnostic tests.
Allergic conditions can include:
- perennial and seasonal rhinitis – commonly known as hay fever
- asthma – difficulty in breathing
- anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock – a severe whole body reaction
- allergy to insect venom, drugs and foods such as peanuts, eggs, penicillin etc
- oral allergy syndrome – also known as pollen food allergy
- urticaria and angioedema – hives
- eczema – an often mild but sometimes severe skin condition
- extrinsic allergic alveolitis – inflammation of the lung by inhaling organic dust
- Coeliac disease – intestinal reaction to gluten (found in wheat)
Our dieticians and allergists can advise on exclusion diets and environmental changes to reduce your exposure to an allergen.
We can also advise on managing respiratory conditions such as asthma and can prescribe steroid medication.
Desensitisation drugs can help to mask the effects of the allergic reaction.
This can result in a long remission or even a cure.
The most important aspect of allergy diagnosis is a careful clinical history and examination, backed by tests including:
- skin prick tests – can be carried out in our out-patient department, giving same-day results
- blood tests – our on-site pathology laboratory will usually ensure results within 48 hrs
- challenge tests with drugs or foods
- food symptom diaries under supervision of a dietician
- respiratory function tests – carried out in the out-patient department, with same-day results
- other investigations, such as bronchoscopy and endoscopy can be carried out in our endoscopy suite
Why choose us?
At Cromwell Hospital, you can expect:
- specialist allergists with experience in diagnosing, advising on and treating allergic responses.
- multidisciplinary teams who work together to provide you with the best possible care.
- the latest diagnostic tests and treatments for allergies
"I would like to thank everyone at Cromwell Hospital for the fantastic way you looked after me. I could not fault anyone during the time I spent with you - from the point I arrived in reception, to the catering team and every member of staff throughout the changes of shift during my stay."
Anonymous, Cromwell Hospital patient
Book an appointment today
Our telephone lines are open 8am to 6pm on Saturdays, excluding bank holiday weekends.
If you need support outside these hours, please call our appointments team on 020 7460 5700. The opening hours for this phone line are 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays. Please note - regrettably we are unable to answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice via internet, email or telephone.