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Allergy Testing

Sunday, 17 October 2010 07:58

Written by Administrator

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Whats an Allergy?

 

An allergy is a condition in which your immune system regards an ordinary, harmless substance such as a food, pollen or dust, as a dangerous invader, and responds to it by producing its own antibodies to attack the substance.

This is when you suffer from one or more unpleasant symptoms. An allergy normally causes an instant reaction, such as in the case of a peanut allergy. However, with an intolerance, the culprit, such as milk or wheat, is usually eaten every day.

Therefore your symptoms, caused by the intolerance, never improve, and it is difficult to find the underlying cause. Medication may help to treat the symptoms, but not the root cause. If your symptoms don't clear up after a reasonable amount of time, then the root cause could be an intolerance.

Allery Testing is an attempt to identify the root cause of an allergy or intolerance. A condition of this cover is that there is no breaking of the skin involved in the testing process.Allergy Testing

Symptoms of Allergies

The symptoms associated with allergies are wide ranging but some of the most common include:

  • skin rashes
  • swelling
  • sneezing and a runny nose
  • teary, red, itchy eyes
  • asthma
  • nausea and vomiting
  • anaphylaxis
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

Reference from various sources

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