Statistics show that around 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Allergies are also the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US. This is why allergy testing is crucial. Allergy tests are used to diagnose allergic conditions and develop allergy treatment plans that include medication, immunotherapy, and allergy avoidance measures. Read on to learn more about allergy testing.
What Is Allergy Testing?
Allergy testing is a process used to determine whether a person is allergic to a specific substance. Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a particular substance. When the immune system overreacts to the allergen, it produces antibodies known as Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies cause the release of chemicals, such as histamine, which leads to the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
During an intradermal skin test, a small amount of the allergen is injected into the skin. If the person is allergic to the substance, they will develop a raised, itchy bump within 15 minutes. Blood tests can also be used to measure IgE levels, which can help diagnose allergies to substances that are difficult to test for, such as food allergies.
When Do You Need an Allergy Test
There are a few ways to know if you have an allergy. The first way is to pay attention to your body. If you have a sudden onset of symptoms like itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing, you may have an allergic reaction.
Types of Allergy Tests
Various tests are used to identify allergies and learn more about them. They include:
Skin Allergy Test
Skin allergy tests can help determine what substance or combination of substances you are allergic to so that you can avoid them in the future. The skin allergy test can also help to determine the severity of your allergy and whether it is likely to cause anaphylaxis.
Sometimes, a blood test may be the only way to diagnose a condition. For example, a blood test can be used to check for the presence of a virus, such as the flu. Blood tests can also be used to monitor a person’s health, such as to check for signs of heart disease or kidney failure.
In this type of test, the allergens are placed on patches that are then applied to your skin. This is done to examine the skin for reactions to these allergens.
The Radioallergosorbent test tests for the amount of specific IgE antibodies in the blood which are present when there is a true allergic reaction.
After Effects of an Allergy Test
You may experience some mild side effects after an allergy test. These may include redness, swelling, or itching at the test site. These side effects are usually temporary and should go away within a few days. In rare cases, people may have more severe reactions, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, mouth, or throat. If you have a severe reaction, you should seek medical attention immediately.