BOX 1 Avoidance Measures for Mite Allergen
Drugs such as antihistamines, cromolyn, and topical steroids can be used to suppress allergic symptoms. Immunotherapy ("allergy shots") stimulates the production of protective antibodies and is especially effective for certain well-defined allergens.
The immunologic nature of allergic reactions was recognized early in this century, but many of the specific types of antibodies and cellular mechanisms involved in such reactions have only recently been defined. Research on the immune mechanisms of allergic disease has led to the hope that the immune responses that occur in allergic diseases can be interrupted at the molecular level. In addition, modern research techniques have allowed scientists to define the protein sequences of many allergens, providing a focus for studies into new methods for detecting and quantifying specific allergenic agents in the environment.
There are several types of medical tests available for the detection and diagnosis of allergic disease. These include skin tests, in vitro antibody tests, and pulmonary function tests. In allergy practice, however, the medical