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Allergy Test - Treatment, Procedure And Side Effects

Last Updated: Mar 21, 2023

What is an allergy test?

To determine whether your body has a negative reaction to a recognised substance, a qualified allergy specialist will perform an examination known as an allergy test. As part of the evaluation, a skin test (prick/patch) or a blood test may be carried out.

The natural protection of your body is your immune system. Allergies arise when your immune system overreacts to an environmental trigger. For instance, pollen, which is generally benign, can result in an overly strong immune reaction.

This overreaction may vary from mild to severe

  • Vomiting
  • A runny nostril
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Blocked sinuses
  • Fever

Who Needs To Be Tested For Allergies?

If you experience bothersome allergy symptoms, your doctor might run an allergy test on you. In patients with asthma, providers also run allergy tests. The test can find allergens that exacerbate asthma symptoms or start an asthma attack.

Why You Should Have An Allergy Test?

Around one-third of people in our country have some sort of allergy. The most typical kind of allergens are those that are inhaled. You can find out which specific pollens, molds, or other chemicals you're allergic to through allergy testing. If you have allergies, you might need to take medicine. You might also try to stay away from the triggers of your allergies.

What are the 10 most common Allergies?

Allergy is generally known as an abnormal reaction to a selective substance. Most of the allergies are not rare yet they are selective, which means it's not important that everyone will get the same reaction to the substance as you. Some of the common allergies are:

  1. Eggs:

    Although eggs are one of the richest sources of protein and vitamins, they can create an allergic reaction in the body. The protein present in eggs can cause skin inflammation, nasal congestion, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can also create asthma-like symptoms.

    The treatment of such allergy is still under the shade, but one can prevent getting the reaction by avoiding any type of direct or indirect consumption of egg protein. Look for elements like albumin, lysozyme, lecithin, globulin, livetin, or the words with ""ova"" and ""ovo"" as prefixes, simplest, silici albuminate, and vitellin.

  2. Milk:

    Often milk allergies are confused with lactose intolerance. They both show almost the same bodily reaction like upset digestive tract but unlike lactose intolerance, milk allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening situation. Milk allergies are quite common in infants which wear off as they grow, but in some cases, they can outgrow till adulthood.

    Furthermore, milk allergies can be specific, so to replace or identify the type it is advisable to seek medical help.

  3. Soy:

    Another protein-specific allergy that is quite common among infants is soy allergies. It is easy to detect as consumption and usage of soy are limited to some specific recipes and food items. Like milk allergies, it also fades with adulthood but stays in a rare case. If one has an onset family medical history of asthma, hives, hay fever, or eczema, it is more susceptible to get an individual infected.

  4. Wheat:

    One of the hardest allergies to avoid is a wheat allergy, as wheat protein is used in almost every daily routine consumable. During wheat protein the key element which attacks your immune system is gluten. The allergy can be triggered while inhaling or consuming anything containing wheat gluten. If not avoided or detected at an early stage, it can cause life-threatening situations like anaphylaxis.

    The world has come up with a variety of substitutes for wheat protein to ease our daily life. For instance, wheat flour can be replaced with gluten-free substitutes like rice flour or garbanzo bean flour.

  5. Tree nuts:

    Nuts that are enriched in tree nut oil can be life-threatening to those who are suffering from tree nut allergies. It is believed that if you are allergic to one tree nut you might be allergic to all the nuts which belong to the same family.

    Generally, nuts are incorporated in the making of dressings, sauces, gravy or deserts, or even bread. It is hard to identify if your sauce has nuts in it, so ask the restaurant or look for the label on the food item before consumption. The best alternative to nuts are seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds can be consumed without any problem in case of tree nut allergy.

  6. Shellfish:

    Since the count of shellfish consumers is few, the allergy associated with crustaceans and mollusks is easy to detect. The allergy is commonly seen in adults more than in children. Seafood can easily be replaced with other meats and vegetarian alternatives of protein.

  7. Fish:

    Fish allergies are mainly caused by the fish gelatin present in the bones and mass of the fish. This kind of allergy is quite sensitive to get as not only direct contact can cause the reactions but cross-contamination to your non-fish foods can also cause reactions. Scientists believe that if one is allergic to fishes they might be allergic to all kinds of seafood, although people who are allergic to shellfish are not necessarily inherently fish allergies.

  8. Raw fruits and vegetables:

    Raw edibles contain proteins that are identical to elements present in pollen, it is hard to detect as it is often confused with hat specific fruit allergy. Even though the allergy is very easy to develop, it rarely creates a severe situation like anaphylaxis.

    Itchy or any sort of discomfort while consuming raw fruits and vegetables, are common symptoms of this illness. Even though there is no alternative present or fruits and veggies till now, one can easily avoid the allergic reaction by processing your raw edibles. Methods like cooking raw food are commonly advised to avoid these kinds of allergies.

  9. Sesame seed:

    Like its name, the allergy is quite specific to sesame seed or its by-products only. It's common in the cultures and territories with high consumption of sesame seed but not common worldwide. It is easy to avoid as the processed consumables come with an element list and highlighted warnings for the consumers to avoid in case of allergies.

What is a Class 3 Allergy?

To interpret the seriousness of your allergic reaction, medical experts have marked the intensity of seriousness into 4 levels - they are:

  1. Class 1: Low level of allergen-specific IgE.
  2. Class 2: Moderate level of allergen-specific IgE.
  3. Class 3: High level of allergen-specific IgE.
  4. Class 4: Very high level of allergen-specific IgE.

Class three allergy is easy to identify as the element that causes highly specific and rare to develop in an individual.

Performing The Test To Diagnose Different Allergies

A person's allergy test depends on the person's allergy type. It can be checked through a blood test, skin test, oral test, food elimination diet etc.

Blood Test

Your blood's immunoglobulin E (IgE), a molecule that might cause allergies, is measured during an allergy blood test. The lgE antibody is produced by your body. If you have allergies, your blood might contain more lgE than usual.

Skin Test

Skin tests are safe for all age groups including infants. Skin tests are frequently the test of choice for figuring out what is causing an allergy because they are simple and quick to do. The effects of potential allergy triggers are tested on the skin. The inside of your lower arm, or occasionally your back, is where this is most frequently one.

Oral Food Challenge

The most accurate method of identifying food allergies is an oral food challenge. Food allergies can be diagnosed with it alone. You will gradually consume an increasing amount of food that is suspected to be causing your symptoms during this test. You will have your allergies closely monitored. You are not allergic to the food if your body does not react to it.

Your food allergy will be confirmed if you experience an allergic reaction, and you will receive immediate treatment for the reaction. The treatment will depend heavily on how extreme your response is.

Food Elimination Diet

Your allergist will instruct you on how to perform a home food elimination diet test. For the first two weeks, you will eliminate all risky foods from your diet. You'll then gradually begin reintroducing the foods to your diet, one at a time. You may have an allergy to a food if you start eating it again and experience symptoms. Other tests may be required because your symptoms could be a food intolerance.

For someone who has previously experienced a severe food allergy, an elimination diet may not be safe.

What can trigger my Allergies?

An allergy developed within your body when the immune system is not able to detect harmful substances invading your organs via the bloodstream. The immune system detects your allergies the next time after the first reaction, as the immune system starts to produce antibodies that are in your body. When you're exposed to an allergy-triggering substance, the antibodies start to produce and reduce the intensity of the reaction.

Commonly allergies are caused due to contact of the triggering element, these can be airborne (animal dander, pollen, dust mites, and mold), present in consumables like food items and medications or something that comes in contact with your skin like insect bits, fabrics, or latex.

Can stress cause Allergy attacks?

Under stressful situations, your body starts to produce chemicals like histamine which makes your immune system more vulnerable to develop or heighten your existing allergic reaction. Even though stress does not cause any allergic reaction, it can make the reaction more severe.

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Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Any individual who wants to check his/her allergic pattern can undergo this test. What might be allergic for one person will not be allergic to the other. Hence it is always safe to check your allergic levels before hand so that you can take adequate precautions or can stay away from them. The allergy test also can be done when you want to take a new medication or a prescription drug.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People with a very high blood pressure and low blood pressure are not suitable candidates as, if they are allergic to certain allergens, this can cause the pressure to behave abnormally. Do consult with your doctor before you go for such tests. Also, pregnant women need to avoid these tests.

Are there any side effects?

There will be no side effects for a blood test. However, if you are undergoing a skin prick test, then it works on the principle whether the chemical is allergic to you. In those cases, you might feel the allergic reactions. But since these are administered in controlled doses, the reactions are temporary and can go away on its own. These tests are safe to undergo.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

If you are having a simple blood test, there are no post-treatment guidelines to follow. You can carry on your usual routine without any change. If you are undergoing the skin patch test then depending on your allergic reaction you might have to rest for some time before you get back. Also based on the results your doctor will advise on the allergens you have to stay away from. These can be food or even a physical thing like dust, pollens, dirt, etc.

How long does it take to recover?

Allergy test treatment is usually done to determine the allergic reactions of your body in a controlled way. Hence there is no recovery period, and after your results, you might have to make some changes to your lifestyle and diet patterns. You might also be asked to stay away from certain pills and medications. Also, you might be asked to cover your face and nose in case you are allergic to dust when you step out.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The average test would cost around INR 2,000 to INR 3,000 in India. These are mostly blood test and can test your immunoglobulin levels. For skin tests and the patch tests, the cost can be additional and depends on the medical center you are having. The medications and the treatment options can be additional too.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment can be permanent only when you stay focused away from the harmful allergens. You have every chance of developing the condition again if you accidently come in contact with your allergic agents. For example, unknowingly you take a medication that has a product that is not suitable for you – You could get the allergic reactions back. It is best to stay safe and have a caution of your surroundings if you have a tendency to get allergic effects.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

For an alternative treatment, you can try going for getting the supplements and nutrients from the fruits and vegetables. You need to consult with your doctor if you can take herbal remedies for keeping the allergic reactions under control, as most of them are extremely safe without any side effects. If any food is allergic to you can try having it in an alternate form.

Summary: Allergy is generally known as an abnormal reaction to a selective substance. Most of the allergies are not rare yet they are selective, which means it's not important that everyone will get the same reaction to the substance as you.

References

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Written ByDr. Shivam Malhotra Sleep Medicine(Training),MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery,MD - General MedicineGeneral Physician
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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