Mar 17, 2016

Allergy Test – Types, Reasons, Importance and Risks

Allergy Test

More than half of the population have allergies! While some are allergic to any specific food, few are allergic to pollution, and the list goes on.

If your doctor doubts you of having an allergy then he prescribes you with an allergy test. It must surely, have landed you with lots of questions and it might be the reason to why you wish to read this article!

What is an Allergy Test?

If you have met with an allergic reaction, then performing the Allergy test will help you diagnose the reason for it. It is a test performed by a skilled specialist to find out if your body is prevailing with an allergic reaction to an identified substance. The procedure for this can be in the form of a skin test, an elimination diet, or a blood test.

Mainly, people with weak immune system tend to catch allergies fast than other individuals. In such situation, the body’s natural defence unit – the immune system overreacts to a specific condition or substance. For instance, if you are allergic to pollen, which is actually harmless, then it may tend your body to overreact. Such a reaction may lead to symptoms, such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Blocked Sinuses
  • Watery Eyes
  • Runny Nose
  • Fever


Various Types of Allergens

Allergens are materials or substances, which can lead allergic reactions. Primarily, there are three types of allergens:

Ingested allergens, which are present in food, like soy, gluten, and peanuts.

Inhaled allergens, which affect the body when there is direct contact to of nose membranes or lungs to them. The most common form of allergen is Pollen.

Contact allergen is the final type, which when come in contact, leads to a skin reaction. Itching or rash triggered by poison ivy is an excellent example of this.

Allergy test mainly involves your exposure to a small amount of a specific allergen and your specific reaction against it.

Reasons for Performing the Allergy Test

Allergies affect a large number of individuals each year. More than half of the global population falls with seasonal allergies and hay ever, which is a response to pollen allergic attack. Researchers speculate that proper allergy care can help combat deaths, which occur due to allergic reactions. A prior information about the presence of allergies can be determined with adequate allergy testing mechanism. An Allergy test can help know that whether a person is allergic to moulds, pollen, any specific food, or any other substances. With accurate Allergy test results, you can avail timely medication and treat all sorts of allergies. In addition to this, it can help avoid meeting allergy triggers.

Preparing for Allergy Test

Preparing for the Allergy test is as simple as performing it. The procedure for performing the test, but may vary, as per the type of allergy that needs to be detected. Before conducting the final evaluation, your health practitioner will investigate about your family history, lifestyle, and other factors. The doctor will even suggest you to stop consuming certain medications as these may affect the Allergy test results. You need to stop intake:

  • Medications for heartburn
  • Medication for asthma, like omalizumab
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines and prescription
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

Performing the test to Diagnose Different Allergies

The Allergy test procedure may check either your skin or your blood sample, depending on kind of allergy to be tested. Your doctor may suggest you with an elimination diet if he thinks you are allergic to the specific type of food.

Blood Allergy Test

There are possibilities that an individual may reveal severe allergic reactions against the skin test. In such situation, the doctor recommends you to go for a blood test. The blood test will examine your blood sample in the laboratory to diagnose the presence of antibodies, which fight against specific allergens. This test is also known as, ImmunoCAP, and detects antibodies to common allergens.

Skin Allergy Test

Evaluation of skin helps to identify various potential allergens. It includes food-related, contractual, and airborne allergens. There are three forms of skin test – Intradermal, Patch, and Scratch test.

Your doctor will first begin with a scratch allergy test, during which the skin exposes to an allergen with the aid of a special tool. The specialist closely monitors the skin to witness how it reacts to foreign substances. If there is, no redness of swelling met then the test results to negative.

The intradermal test is the second form of evaluation procedure, which doctor follows if the scratch test appears to be inconclusive. During this test, the specialist inserts a small amount of allergens into the skin with help of an injection and then monitors the skin for varying reactions.

Finally, the specialist may go for a patch test where the practitioner employs adhesive patches to test the presence of suspected allergens. The patches stay on your body, even after the test and the doctor examines the reaction of the skin against these patches after 24 hrs and again after 48 hrs.

Elimination Diet Test (Food Allergy Test)

It is a simple examination procedure, during which the doctor recommends you eliminate specific food from your diet. It may involve eliminating certain types of food from the diet and then determine your body’s reactions against each. Your body’s reactions determine the type of food that causes you allergy.

Associated Risks with Allergy Test

An allergy test is simple but may result in redness, mild itching, or sometimes, swelling of the skin. There are chances when small bumps, known as wheels, may appear on the surface of the skin.  Such symptoms can alleviate from the skin with the help of mild cortisone creams. There are rare chances when allergy testing may lead to severe reactions, which may require medical attention. For such reasons, it is advisable to conduct a test only in the laboratory, or at a place where immediate support from the doctor or skin specialist is obtainable.

If in case, you develop an acute reaction after the allergy test then you may immediately call your doctor. You may even require medical support if you met with symptoms, like difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, low blood pressure, or excessive itching on the skin.

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