Allergy Testing Is there a substance that you think you may be causing you trouble? Allergic reactions are common for many people. Luckily, there are a range of allergy tests available to help you learn if you have any allergies. Read on to learn more.
Symptoms of Allergies
The symptoms associated with allergies are wide ranging but some of the most common include:
- skin rashes
- sneezing and a runny nose
- teary, red, itchy eyes
- nausea and vomiting
Types of Allergy Testing
The type of testing that you undergo will depend on the type of allergy that you are suspected of having. The most common types of tests include:
- Skin prick tests – this is where selected allergens are applied to the forearm or the back with a dropper, and the skin is gently pricked with a needle. A positive reaction to a substance shows up as a red weal or flare on the skin within 20 minutes.
- Allergen-specific IgE blood tests (RAST) – these tests are used when skin tests are impractical or inconclusive. A blood sample is taken and the level of immunoglobulin associated with the allergic reaction (allergen-specific IgE) is measured in a laboratory.
- Elimination diets and challenge testing – elimination diets are used to isolate foods that may be causing an allergic reaction in the body. The process usually takes a number of weeks and involved avoiding foods that are identified as being common causes of food allergy. No food or drinks may be consumed other than those specified as being allowable. If symptoms improve, foods are reintroduced one at a time until the symptoms recur. This is known as challenge testing. These diets should only be undertaken under medical supervision.
- Patch tests – are used to investigate contact dermatitis. Common triggers include fragrances, nickel, and chrome. Patches are applied to the back in adhesive strips and the area is examined after two and four days. A positive result shows up as blisters or redness
Complications and Allergy Testing
Allergy testing may result in complications. Some people may react severely to a particular allergen. For example, skin prick tests can result in painful, irritated and inflamed red weals. Anaphylaxis is a serious complication that can result in death. For this reason, it is important that all means of allergy testing are undertaken by a medical professional. Medical professionals are able to anticipate and treat the allergic reaction.
Other allergy tests such as cytotoxic food test, the Vega test, bioelectrical testing, hair analysis, the pulse test, and kinesiology are not scientifically validated to be used as a means of allergy testing and therefore should note be used for diagnosis or treatment.
Treating Allergies Allergy treatments may include:
- avoiding the allergen
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