An allergy test is a medical examination where your body is subjected to known substances to check whether you have any allergies. A blood or skin test could be performed when going in for allergy testing. Allergies generally occur when your immune system overreacts due to the presence of any foreign particle in or around your body. Such materials could be harmless but can end up in allergies such as pollen.
Allergy-causing particles are known as allergens and there are 3 categories of allergens present. They are:
- Ingested: allergens that are swallowed and could be present in food such as peanuts and seafood are known as ingested allergens.
- Inhaled: allergens that are inhaled through the nose or mouth which causes irritation in the throat or lungs are known as inhaled allergens.
- Contact: contact allergens cause allergies and infections when they come in contact with the skin of an individual.
Why are allergy tests performed?
Patients who have lung diseases such as asthma or show symptoms of infection or allergies are usually recommended to undergo allergy tests. Anaphylaxis is known as a severe allergic reaction and could be one of the reasons why your doctor would make you have an allergy test. Anaphylaxis can cause severe health problems such as breathing problems, swelling, and changes in blood pressure.
What are the types of allergy testing?
- Skin prick test:
The medical professional uses a thick needle to prick your skin with tens of different kinds of allergens to see the reaction of your body. Another way to go forward with the same procedure is by applying gel on your skin and then applying pressure and allowing the liquid to penetrate your skin.
Allergic reactions can be seen within 15 minutes of the allergen penetrating your body’s skin and other defenses. This allergy test is usually used for airborne allergies and food allergies.
- Patch test:
The doctor or the medical professional might apply a gel with some allergens present on it and then place a bandage around it. You would have to ideally wear the bandage for 2-4 days and then come back to your doctor who will then review your skin for allergic reactions.
- Blood test:
The medical professional will take out a sample of your blood and then will send it to the laboratory. The technician will then see the reaction between your blood and many allergens to find allergies. Such allergy tests have a very high chance of false results.
- Challenge tests:
This test is performed under the direct supervision of a medical professional. Here, the patient is required to swallow a small amount of allergen and then the doctor examines the body’s reaction to it. Medical supervision in such tests is a must.
Risks of allergy testing:
An allergy test often has a few small side effects or negligible bodily reactions. A little swelling, itching, and small bumps called wheals on the skin can appear. Such reactions should usually stop bothering you within hours but could be visible on your skin for days in the end.
Anaphylactic reactions are the biggest risk factor when it comes to allergy tests. That’s why all allergy tests are recommended to be conducted under the watchful gaze of a medical professional. Epinephrine is used to treat patients who have anaphylactic reactions.
Why is allergy testing important?
Any interference by a medical condition that causes discomfort is bad for you. Regardless of whether your allergic reaction is mild or severe, you are always susceptible to increased problems. Self-diagnosis and over-the-counter medicine can waste both your time and money. An allergy test is a sure way to find the main culprit and have a completely accurate diagnosis.
- Preventing medical complications:
Many medical complications can be seen in an individual whose roots are through an allergy. Many allergies are known to lead to asthma which results in shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, coughing, and wheezing. Other medical issues that are known to arise from the allergic reaction are cases of migraine, trouble in sleeping, other infections, and polyps.
After the successful diagnosis of your medical condition through analyzing the results of an allergy test. Your doctor would then provide you with suitable medication or ointments which would protect you from such allergic reactions.
Allergic reactions can often be mild and irritating and sometimes it could lead up to life-threatening events. An allergic test is recommended for everyone at least once a year. Such tests help you stay safe and away from any life-threatening incident or phenomenon.
Allergic tests help you identify the exact substance which is causing discomfort to you and your body. Only after accurate diagnosis can you begin the journey of attaining the remedy. You should go for an allergy test if you experience any symptoms of an allergy, even if they are mild and negligible.