Allergy Clinic

Every year Britons spend millions of pounds on hay fever remedies purchased from pharmacies. The charity Allergy UK estimates that the number of people in the UK suffering from allergies is increasing by 5% each year, with one in four people affected at some stage in their lives.

Allergies affect one in four people at some stage in their lives


Allergies are ‘over reactions’ to substances that your body’s immune system considers to be harmful. The substance causing the reaction is known as an allergen.

Common allergens such as pollen, dust mite, pets and foods such as milk or eggs can cause debilitating symptoms; from wheezing, runny noses, itchy eyes and ears through to more serious conditions such as asthma, eczema, lethargy and frequent headaches.

Pinpointing the exact cause of these symptoms and then removing the allergens from the patient’s environment or diet can result in dramatic improvements in quality of life. Spire Hartswood Hospital provides both a diagnostic service to accurately identify allergies or intolerances in the sufferer, and necessary advice in dealing with the particular allergies diagnosed.

It is vital to understand the differences between an allergy and intolerance. An allergy is in your immune system which reacts to an allergen, with the most common including house dust mites, pollen, peanuts and shellfish. An intolerance is always caused by food or drink, and the reaction doesn’t involve the immune system so is usually less serious than an allergic reaction.

Spire Hartswood Hospital offers two different forms of testing, depending on your symptoms and needs. Firstly, you will begin with a telephone discussion with our Allergy Clinic Nurse, Tricia Wilson. Here you will be able to discuss your symptoms and Tricia will link these to any likely possibilities, to decide which test is best for you.

You will need a doctor's referral from your GP or consultant. Following your tests, a letter explaining the results can be sent to your referring consultant or GP.

Following your allergy test you may wish to seek further advice from a specialist consultant, which can be arranged at Spire Hartswood Hospital by calling 01277 266 761.

Allergy tests available at Spire Hartswood Hospital

Skin Prick Test
Skin prick testing can be used for suspected allergies to either inhaled or ingested substances. Skin prick tests take approximately 45 minutes to complete and are effective for common allergies, including house dust mite, cat, dog, pollens, grasses and trees. A very small amount of suspected allergen is placed under the top layer of skin. If you are allergic, a positive reaction will occur within 15 minutes. If food intolerance or sensitivity is suspected, advice will be given on how to eliminate this food from your diet and you may be recommended to undertake blood testing, known as a RAST Test.

These blood tests are used for those with severe food allergies, or who are at risk of anaphylaxis. They can also be used if you suffer from extensive eczema or dermatitis, and are therefore unable to have a skin prick test. The RAST (radioallergeosorbent) test measures levels of food-specific antibodies in your blood.

To arrange an allergy test at Spire Hartswood Hospital, please call our Appointments Team on 01277 266 766. Tricia Wilson, Allergy Nurse, will then call you to advise on the most suitable test, depending on your symptoms.

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Tricia Wilson, Allergy Nurse

Following her general nurse training, Tricia Wilson trained at the Royal National ENT hospital. She now works as a specialist ENT nurse at Spire Hartswood Hospital, where she assists consultant ENT surgeons as well as running the allergy testing service.

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)