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Misdiagnosis of Allergies

Misdiagnosis of Allergies

A diagnosis of allergies may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms may be mild in some people and/or may not occur very often. In addition, some symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, vomiting or diarrhea can mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as a cold, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, influenza or indigestion.

Allergies and the allergens that cause them can be difficult to diagnose and may be both over-diagnosed and under-diagnosed at different times. A full evaluation by a primary care physician or nurse practitioner in conjunction with an allergist or asthma specialist is generally needed to properly diagnose allergies and their causes....more about Allergies »

Alternative diagnoses list for Allergies:

For a diagnosis of Allergies, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Allergies:

Diseases for which Allergies may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Allergies is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Rare Types of Allergies:

Allergies: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Allergies: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Discussion of diagnosis/misdiagnosis of Allergies:

People with allergy symptoms, such as the runny nose of allergic rhinitis, may at first suspect they have a cold--but the "cold" lingers on. It is important to see a doctor about any respiratory illness that lasts longer than a week or two. When it appears that the symptoms are caused by an allergy, the patient should see a physician who understands the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. If the patient's medical history indicates that the symptoms recur at the same time each year, the physician will work under the theory that a seasonal allergen (like pollen) is involved. Properly trained specialists recognize the patterns of potential allergens common during local seasons and the association between these patterns and symptoms. The medical history suggests which allergens are the likely culprits. The doctor also will examine the mucous membranes, which often appear swollen and pale or bluish in persons with allergic conditions. (Source: excerpt from Something in the Air Airborne Allergens: NIAID)

Common Misdiagnoses and Allergies

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms. Although the most common symptoms are anal itch (or vaginal itch), which are obvious in severe cases, milder conditions may fail to be noticed in children. In particular, it may interfere with the child's good night's sleep. Threadworm is a condition to consider in children with symptoms such as bedwetting (enuresis), difficulty sleeping, irritability, or other sleeping symptoms. Visual inspection of the region can often see the threadworms, at night when they are active, but they can also be missed this way, and multiple inspections can be warranted if worms are suspected. See the introduction to threadworm.

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed with fatal effect). One of the most common misdiagnosed is for children with mesenteric adenitis to be misdiagnosed as appendicitis. Fortunately, thus misdiagnosis is usually less serious than the reverse failure to diagnose appendicitis.

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can simply be too small to accurately test a child's blood pressure. This can lead to an incorrect diagnosis of a child with hypertension. The problem even has a name unofficially: "small cuff syndrome". See misdiagnosis of hypertension.

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is that psoriasis is rare in children, and not often seen by physicians for this reason. children may receive treatment for fungal skin infections. See misdiagnosis of psoriasis or symptoms of psoriasis.

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. See misdiagnosis of migraine or introduction to migraine.

Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases are difficult to diagnose. Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed early. Some of the chronic lung diseases with diagnostic difficulties include asthma (perhaps surprisingly), COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, mesothelioma, smoker's cough, AIDS-related respiratory conditions (see AIDS), chronic pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. Rare possibilities include diseases like psittacosis (bird-related lung infection). See other types of chronic lung diseases.

Allergies: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Allergies

Failure to diagnose Allergies may be associated with the following:

  • Due to the huge array of possible triggering factors for allergies, the specific type of allergy is often difficult to determine and therefore remains untreated. For example an allergy to house dust may be difficult to detect as the allergy symptoms may be similar to those caused by mold allergy, pollen allergy etc
  • Food allergies may be overlooked as a cause of migraines. Foods such as chocolate, eggs, oranges, wheat and dairy products are common allergy triggers that result in migraine
  • Food allergies may be overlooked as a cause of arthritis in some people. Foods involved are usually those from the nightshade family such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and chilli
  • Allergy is often overlooked as a cause of various gastrointestinal symptoms such as flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, bloating and fungal infections

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Allergies

The following may be hidden causes of Allergies:

  • The predisposition for developing allergies is often inherited but the allergen can vary. Thus if a mother has a milk allergy, the infant may have a milk allergy instead
  • Food allergy is often overlooked as a possible cause or contributing factor in a number of conditions often associated with food allergy. These conditions include skin rashes, yeast infections, intestinal yeast infections, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, headaches, chronic sinus problems, sugar cravings, asthma, arthritis, acne, ADD, ADHD, autism and bed-wetting. These conditions are often triggered by the delayed reactivity form of food allergy rather than the immediate reactivity form

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Allergies

Wrong diagnosis of Allergies may be associated with the following:

  • Semen allergies are very rare and are often misdiagnosed as a yeast infection
  • Milk allergy may be misdiagnosed as lactose intolerance due to similar symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps and bloating. Treatment with lactase enzyme for lactose intolerance will have no effect on symptoms if the patient is suffering from a milk allergy
  • An allergic reaction to seafood may be misdiagnosed as a seafood poisoning and vice versa. For example, ciguatera poisoning and seafood allergy may cause a tingling sensation on the tongue, lips and throat as well as gastrointestinal symptoms and headache
  • An allergic eye reaction may be misdiagnosed as an eye infection. However, this is complicated by the fact that eye allergies may lead to secondary eye infections
  • Allergies often produce symptoms that can be caused by other upper respiratory conditions such as colds, infections, sinusitis, exercise, excessive dust exposure, cold air and perfumes. This complicates diagnosis and leads to misdiagnosis
  • There are a number of skin allergies that can occur and they may be misdiagnosed as other skin conditions or the wrong type of skin allergy may be diagnosed. Accurate allergy diagnosis is essential as often a major part of the treatment involves avoidance of the triggering factor
  • The sneezing and runny nose associated with hayfever may be misdiagnosed as a simple cold - especially in infants or young children who are unable to elaborate on the symptoms they are experiencing.
  • Infant allergy in babies still being breastfed is often misdiagnosed as colic. The allergy may be a response to something the mother has eaten which is then transferred to the baby through the milk
  • A drug allergy may be wrongly diagnosed (in especially in children) in scenarios where a drug such as penicillin is administered to treat a bacterial infection such as an ear infection and the person subsequently develops a rash. The health physician may erroneously believe that the skin rash is a result of a penicillin allergy
  • Rashes caused by food allergies may be misdiagnosed as eczema
  • Symptoms of milk allergy may mimic those of a viral infection and lead to misdiagnosis. Common symptoms include phlegm, wheezing, diarrhea and weight loss
  • Symptoms of gluten allergy may mimic those of tropical intestinal parasites, lactose intolerance, intestinal lymphoma or excess bacteria in the small intestine. Common symptoms include diarrhea and weight loss
  • Allergy can result in asthma-like symptoms and be misdiagnosed simply as non-allergic asthma. Likewise, asthma may be misdiagnosed as an allergy. An accurate diagnosis is needed in order to appropriately treat these potentially serious conditions

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Allergies:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Allergies:

Misdiagnosis and Allergies deaths

Allergies is a condition that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Allergies or confirming a diagnosis of Allergies, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Allergies may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Allergies. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


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