Why Is Allergy Testing Important? Read Importance and Types of Tests Available

Do you feel you are allergic to something? Here is why you must get an allergic test done.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Apr 20, 2022Updated at: Apr 20, 2022
Why Is Allergy Testing Important? Read Importance and Types of Tests Available

Aah! it’s that time of the year again- the spring season. Everybody loves an exhilarating view of blooming flowers with a good cup of coffee but what to do when your immune system doesn’t agree to it. Well, most of you would be indulged in enjoying the spring season but it’s quite distressful for some. Remember when you got up in the morning and kept blaming the air conditioners for those sneezes, little did you know that it were the fungal spores lodged in them that made you allergic. It’s a long-forgotten disease and also the numbers are rising every day because of environmental changes and lifestyle modifications. In this article, let us explain to you why allergy testing is important and the different tests for allergy as explained by Dr. Neha Consultant Microbiologist- National Reference Lab, Oncquest Laboratories Ltd, Gurugram

Why take an allergy test?

Allergy is basically hypersensitive reaction of your immune system to fairly common & harmless substances such as pollen, dander from your fluffy friends, food, dust, mite, etc which results in common symptoms of allergy such as running nose, itchy eyes and of course sneezes. Avoidance is inevitable. You would essentially be running to your drawer and popping those traditional white little over-the-counter pills for relief, and little did you know that it was just a temporary relief. And if allergy is so severely affecting your work and life, you need to see an allergy expert because quality of life is really important. An allergy expert would take a complete history about your symptoms, lifestyle, dietary habits and prescribe few blood tests. It is essential to know the triggers which may be responsible for your allergy condition so that appropriate management could be devised.

Also Read: Intolerance or Allergy, How to Tell the Difference?

Why take an allergy test

How Allergy Test Is Done?

There are several tests available to diagnose your allergy condition. 

  • IgE antibody- Since there is an increased production of IgE antibody, your doctor may test your blood for Total IgE antibodies. More commonly, your doctor may thereafter advise a skin prick test.
  • Skin prick test- In this test, a patch of your skin is tested with diluted allergens in small amounts to check allergic reactions with alergy test which helps in identifying the cause for your allergic symptoms. it generally takes 15-20 minutes for results. it is quite inexpensive but there are chances of false positive as well false negative results. False positive, especially in case of food allergens may lead to unnecessary dietary restrictions.
Why take an allergy test

Blood test for allergy

There are some other blood tests that are available which would check your entire allergen repertoire with just a single prick. These blood tests are specifically designed to check your antibody levels to different allergens.

  • Phadiatop measures specific IgE antibodies levels in your body and if positive, it is further followed by specific IgE panel testing such as food panel, insect panel, dust panel, animal dander panel, fungus panel etc to specifically identify the triggers that are responsible for your condition.
  • This test is optimized differently for children below 5years, it includes food allergens which important for that age group. This test helps in determining strategies for your treatment in a better defined way. 
 
Why take an allergy test

If your report shows that you may be allergic to some food item, then your doctor may also put you on food challenge test. You will be given small portions of food item (suspected allergen)& allergic reactions will be monitored. It confirms whether you have food allergy to that particular item or not.

Conclusion

The rule ‘One size fits all’ doesn’t apply to allergy as an individual’s allergen repertoire decides what would be appropriate treatment for you. Since it is inevitable, you can definitely improve your quality of life by choosing the right direction. It is not necessary that if a parent has some allergy then the child might also get it. Also, sometimes we presume something as allergy whereas it might be just intolerance. In order to understand that, you must consult a specialist.

Image credits- freepik

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