Many people get themselves allergy tested every year to ascertain any forms of allergy they might have to specific substances. In fact, it is prudent for adults and children to undergo an allergy test so that they are aware of potential triggers of allergies that might strike them off guard and cause suffering, pain and discomfort.
What is an allergy test?
An allergy test is a test performed by an allergy specialist in a clinic. This test may be a skin test, blood test or in the form of a diet known as an elimination diet. Many adults and children suffer from allergies when the immune system that is the natural defence of the body overreacts to a particular trigger in the environment. The trigger might be insects, food, pets, chemicals or even pollen.
Your body might react all of a sudden. Common symptoms can be in the form of a runny nose, blocked sinuses, sneezing, watery eyes with or without itching. In the case of a food allergy, its consumption might cause you to swell up. The hands, face, mouth, limbs, etc. might suddenly swell up. In such cases, immediate medical intervention and anti-allergic medicines are needed.
What should you do before an allergy test?
Before you take an allergy test, you must consult a doctor. He or she will ask you questions about your family, lifestyle, diet, work, etc. If you are on certain medications, you will be advised to stop taking them so that the allergy test can be performed without hindrance. These medicines include-
- Over the counter medications and prescription drugs like antihistamines
- Medications for heartburn that contain famotidine
- Medication for asthma like anti-IgE monoclonal
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Types of allergy tests – Skin, Blood Test or Elimination Diet
Allergy tests may either be a skin or a blood test. When it comes to the former, they are performed to identify potential allergens like contact and food substances. The skin tests may be in the form of a scratch test, patch test or an intradermal test.
Most doctors start with a scratch test. Here, the doctor places the allergen in liquid and this liquid is put on your skin with a unique tool that injects the allergen into your body. You are scrutinised to check for any reactions of your skin to foreign substances. In case, you suffer from itchiness, swelling, redness and elevation. This means you are allergic to that particular substance. In case the results of the above test are inconclusive, your doctor might proceed with an intradermal or a patch test.
In the event of any severe allergic reaction to a particular substance, doctors will conduct a blood test. The blood will be tested in a laboratory for the presence of specific antibodies.
The elimination diet, on the other hand, is a diet that will eliminate certain food from your body. You will be tested before they are added back to your diet again. These are the three types of allergy tests that doctors resort to when you want to prevent allergies in your life.