To determine whether your body has a negative reaction to a known substance, a professional allergy specialist will perform an examination known as an allergy test. A skin test (prick/patch) or a blood test may be performed as part of the examination.
Your immune system serves as your body’s built-in defence. Allergies arise when your immune system overreacts to an environmental trigger. For instance, pollen, which is generally benign, can result in an overly strong immune reaction. This overreaction could lead to:
- a runny nose
- blocked sinuses
- itchy, watery eyes
- coughing or wheezing
Types of Allergens
Allergic reactions can be brought on by allergens. The three main categories of allergens are:
- When inhaled allergens come into touch with the respiratory system, nasal, or throat membranes, they have an adverse effect on the body. The most typical allergen that is inhaled is pollen.
- Some foods, such peanuts, soy, and seafood, include ingested allergens.
- To cause a reaction, contact allergens must make contact with the skin. The rash and itching brought on by poison ivy are an illustration of a reaction from a contact allergy.
In allergy tests, a very little amount of a specific allergen is given to you while the reaction is being observed.
Why is Allergy Testing Performed?
According to some reports, millions of people experience allergic reactions. The most typical kind of allergens are those that are inhaled.
According to the World Allergy Organization, asthma causes 250,000 fatalities each year. Since asthma is seen as an allergic disease process, these deaths can be prevented with appropriate allergy management.
You can find out which specific pollens, molds, or other chemicals you’re allergic to through allergy testing. If you have allergies, you might need to take medicine. You could also make an effort to stay away from your allergy triggers.
How to Prepare for Allergy Testing?
Prior to your allergy test, your doctor will ask questions about your lifestyle, family history, and other factors.
They’ll likely urge you to stop taking the following medications prior to your allergy test because they might affect the results:
- both over-the-counter and prescribed antihistamines
- several drugs used to relieve heartburn, like famotidine (Pepcid)
- benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) (Ativan)
- tricyclic mood stabilizers, such amitriptyline (Elavil)
- systemic steroid hormones (if you are undergoing patch testing)
How Allergy Testing is Performed?
An allergy test may be required for a skin test or a blood test.
Skin tests can rule out many potential allergies. These include contact, food-related, and airborne allergies. The three different forms of skin tests are scratching, patch, and intradermal.
Your doctor will typically begin with a scratch test. During this test, an allergen is dissolved in a liquid and applied to a patch of your skin using a special tool that carefully punctures the allergen into the skin’s surface.
The reaction of your skin to the foreign substance will be carefully observed. If there is localised redness, edoema, elevation, or itching of the skin over the test site, you are allergic to that specific allergen.
If the scratch test is inconclusive, your doctor may ask for an intradermal skin test. During this test, a very small quantity of allergen must be injected into the dermis layer of your skin. Your doctor will once more monitor your response.
The patch test is an additional type of skin test (T.R.U.E. TESTTrusted Source). Applying adhesive patches to your skin that have been pre-loaded with allergens is required for this. To look for cases of allergic contact dermatitis, patch testing is done.
Once you leave the doctor’s office, the patches won’t come off. The patches are then inspected again between 72 and 96 hours after the initial 48-hour examination.
If there is a chance that you will have a severe adverse reaction to a skin test or if you are unable to undergo a skin test, your doctor might ask for a blood test.
In a laboratory setting, a blood sample is analysed for the presence of antibodies that fight certain allergens. Finding IgE antibodies to important allergens is a specialty of this test, called ImmunoCAP.
What Happens If I Have an Allergy?
If you find that you have an allergy, you can take a number of different actions. Treating a food allergy may be as simple as eliminating the offending food from your diet.
Treatment for various allergies is necessary.
On rare occasions, your doctor might advise taking corticosteroids or antihistamines.
Another option for treatment is immunotherapy, sometimes known as allergy injections. During immunotherapy, you will receive shots that contain very little amounts of the allergen so that your body can gradually build immunity.
Doctors may recommend emergency epinephrine for those with allergies that pose a serious risk to their lives.
There are a few natural treatments that can help avoid or lessen allergy symptoms. These include saline nasal or sinus rinses and air filters.
Risks of Allergy Testing
During allergy tests, skin swelling, redness, and slight itching may manifest. Wheals are little pimples that periodically appear on the skin.
Although they typically disappear within a few hours, some symptoms may last for a few days. Gentle topical steroid creams can lessen these effects.
Rarely does an allergy test result in an immediate, severe allergic reaction that requires medical attention. Allergy testing should be performed at a right and licensed clinic with the required medications and equipment since anaphylaxis, a potentially dangerous acute allergic reaction, can be treated with epinephrine.
Call your doctor as soon as possible if you have a severe response immediately after leaving the clinic.
If you have any of the following anaphylactic symptoms, call emergency hotline right away:
- thrombosis of the throat
- having trouble breathing
- rapid heartbeat
- reduced blood pressure
A medical emergency is severe anaphylaxis.
What to Do After Allergy Testing?
Once the clinic or your doctor has determined which allergens are responsible for your symptoms, you may work together to build a plan for avoiding and managing your allergies.
Medicines that could ease your discomfort may also be recommended by your doctor.
Visit the Inner Health Clinic in Stockport, Manchester if you’re interested in having your allergies tested. They provide a convenient and affordable way to get the test done. Everything you need to take the test will be sent to you. To make an appointment, call 0161 243 5969 or send an email to [email protected].