People suffer from different allergies, due to which, they can’t even eat their favorite food. It’s necessary to diagnose allergies so that one can take preventive measures to stay away from them. Let’s discuss more on allergy tests and their types, in the following HealthHearty article.
Allergy tests are skin or blood tests performed on an individual to know more about a specific substance, which can induce an allergic response in that individual. Any type of test can be selected for testing an allergy, however, immediate results can be obtained through a skin test. Moreover, they are very dependable and usually quite inexpensive as compared to blood tests. By taking a test, one can be well informed, if symptoms like sneezing, wheezing, and skin rashes are results of some allergies. The end result of the tests can help the physician develop an intervention plan, which may include keeping away from allergens, and medicaments or therapies that increase immunity to allergens.
There are various types of allergy tests that are conducted to determine allergies, the most common are mentioned below.
Skin Prick Tests
During a skin test for identifying an allergy, the skin is exposed to substances, which have the ability to trigger an allergic response, after which, it is kept under observation for signals of an allergic reaction. These scratch tests are believably the most performed allergy tests. In this procedure, a grid is drawn on the arms or on the back, and tiny amounts of substances, which are considered to be allergens for that person are placed into the grid. Later, the skin in pricked, which causes it to soak in some amount of the allergens. The same surface is then kept under observation for possible symptoms of allergic reactions, like, swelling, inflammation, or itching. The result of this method is generally very quick, and the doctor can conclude the result in just 20 minutes. This procedure allows different kinds of allergic substances to be tested at a time. It is a useful procedure when one doesn’t have any details of the allergic substances, which cause the reactions, like airborne allergens, or reactions from foods and insect stings.
If a food allergy is surmised, elimination testing would be the best suited for getting the appropriate results. In this procedure, a variety of food items, which are doubtful to be allergens are excluded from a person’s diet for a time span of several weeks. Each food item is then included back in the diet one by one, after which, there is a heedful observation done to identify which food item or specific combination of foods causes allergic reactions.
This method of testing is also known as a radioallergosorbent (RAST) test. This test is carried out in a laboratory using a blood sample of the patient. The blood is tested to examine if it contains immunoglobulin (IgE) antibodies, as this will suggest whether the immune system is producing an allergic reaction within the body. Increased presence of immunoglobulin (IgE) antibodies will let the physician know, if the individual is allergic to certain kinds of allergens. However, this method is not considered accurate and precise as compared to other methods of testing allergies.
Oral Food Challenge
This type of testing is an accurate method of identifying allergic substances. It includes the consumption of different food capsules, which also include the constituents of the foods that are suspected to cause an allergic reaction. After each dose, there is a careful observation of allergic reactions, which may be triggered after consuming a particular pill. Before the test commences, the patient is not allowed to eat for several hours. The doctor will also advice on the steps, which are to be taken, prior to the test. If the results are positive, patients mostly take the test once again to ensure that the results are accurate. If the results are positive after three tests, the food that caused the reactions, needs to be completely eliminated from the patient’s diet.
As every method has its own advantages and disadvantages, one needs to consult a doctor to find out, as to which test would be suitable to identify the substances that cause allergic reactions.