Allergy Tests, Scientific Tools For Accurate Diagnosis And Treatment of Allergies

Millions of Europeans suffer from allergies without even knowing it. If you wheeze while eating food, if your eyes get watery or itchy while dusting or even if you have a runny nose during a particular season, perhaps it's time to get yourself tested by a trained and qualified allergist. Allergy skin tests and blood tests are the first steps for effective treatment of allergy symptoms.

Types of Allergy Skin Tests

Allergy specific skin tests help in identifying a person's sensitivity to trigger agents that might be causing symptoms. Skin prick test, intradermal test and patch test are the different types of skin tests that can be used for detection. For a prick test, a miniscule amount of allergen extract is pricked into skin, usually on the back or forearm. If a person develops redness or swelling at prick site within twenty minutes or so, it means he or she is allergic to the trigger agent. For an intradermal skin test, a small amount of suspected allergen is injected into the skin to find out if the person has specific IgE antibodies that trigger allergic reactions.

Importance of Qualified Allergists

A patch test is recommended to diagnose contact dermatitis. For this test, a patch with substances such as dyes, chemicals, food, medications etc. is left on the patient's skin for a period of 48 hours. After 76-96 hours, the skin is examined for reactions such as redness or itching. Due to a possibility of patients developing severe allergic reactions during testing, only properly trained allergists in a medical facility can carry out allergy skin tests. The number of tests depend on a patient's symptoms and can vary from a one to dozens.

When to Recommend Blood Test

Sometimes, an allergist may recommend allergy blood tests. This is done because certain medications can interfere with the results of skin tests or if the patient suffers from an unstable heart condition, severe asthma or severe skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. A blood allergy test is also recommended for patients who display extreme reactions during skin testing or have a history of the life threatening anaphylaxis reaction. Children too prefer a single needle blood test over multiple prick tests.

How to Use Test Findings

Allergy blood tests are used to detect the presence of and measure the amount of allergy specific antibodies, especially immunoglobulin E (IgE) which is strongly linked to triggering the body's allergy reaction. Using skin tests and blood allergy tests, an allergist can screen for many common allergens including dust mites, animal dander, pollen from grass, mold spores, foods, medications and insect stings. The findings of allergic tests are used in conjunction with the patient's medical history to derive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

Both types of tests have positives and negatives. Patients who wish to educate themselves about various allergies and immunological diseases can look up European Academy of Allergies and Clinical Immunology's website for reliable and up to date information. This internationally reputed non-profit medical organization is a leading name in the field of allergies and clinical immunology.

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