Allergies are hypersensitive immune responses to substances that can enter or to be in touch with the body. They can be food, drinks, hair of pet, pollen, or bee venom. Allergen, a substance causes an allergic reaction, can be found in food, drinks, and even the environment. If doctors think that you might have an allergy, they will prefer you to have a test with an allergist. In this article, we will find out things need to know about allergy testing.
How many types of allergies?
There are three main types of allergies:
- Inhaled allergies are the most popular type of allergy. There are a lot of people who are facing with inhaled allergies. And they only experience symptoms during a certain season of the year. Pollen, grass, and mold are top three triggers of seasonal allergies. But pollen is the most common inhaled allergies.
- Ingested allergies are also known as food allergies. These allergies are most often cause by cow’s milk, nuts, eggs, and fruit.
- Contact allergies happen when an allergen touches a person’s skin.
Which parts of the body may be affected by allergy?
It depends on the type of allergen and where it enters your body. You may have different symptoms.
The nose, eyes, and throat
You will have these symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes and sore throat when allergens are breathed in (like pollen).
The lung and chest
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can cause bronchial swelling and constriction. An asthma attack can be caused by many factors. It consists of a respiratory infection, certain drugs and other kinds of allergens such as dust mites or diesel fume, even cold air or an emotional response.
The stomach and bowel
Most severe symptoms of ingested allergies can do harm for your stomach and your bowel, like abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Some symptoms of contact allergy may include skin: redness, itchy, swelling, scaling and blistering. Though annoying, a contact allergy is rarely dangerous.
Forms of allergy testing
- Skin test
For a skin test, the doctor will put a tiny bit of an allergen (pollen or food) on your skin and make a small scratch or prick on the skin. Then, the doctor will wait 15 minutes to see if reddish, raised spots so that he or she can possibly indicate an allergy. Allergists usually do skin tests on forearm or back.
- Blood test
After the skin test, if you have an allergic reaction, the doctor may call for a blood test. The blood is tested in a laboratory for the presence of antibodies that fight specific allergens. This method is successful in detecting antibodies to major allergens.
- Testing for food allergy
To diagnose the food allergy, doctors often use a combination of skin test and blood test. If both have a positive result, then there is no need for further testing. However, if the results are still unclear, they might do something called a food challenge. During this test, the patient is given gradually increasing amounts of the potential food allergen to eat while the doctor watches for symptoms. This test can be risky since food allergies can trigger serious reactions in people. So, an expert, in an allergist’s office must be the one who do the test.
Are there any side effects after allergy testing?
Any medical test involves some risk.
- For the skin test, the symptoms are itching and swelling at the tested places.
- For the blood test, pain or bleeding at the needle mark. Also, a few people may faint during blood testing.
- The test for food allergy includes some risks. The worst thing can happen is an anaphylaxis.
Test results and treatment
If the doctor decides that a person has an allergy, they will recommend a course of action and the treatment depends on the allergy.
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