Allergy Tests 101

Have you ever started itching after eating something? Do your eyes start watering during a particular season? If you have experienced any of these, there is a good chance that you have allergies.
Allergic reactions are your body’s response to allergens. These allergens come in a variety of forms such as pollen, latex, a particular food, and even insect stings. Reactions to these allergens are diverse as well, ranging from mild rashes, itchiness, or a runny nose to more dangerous and life-threatening symptoms. The difference in reaction lies in the type of allergen and its specific entryway into our body.
To prevent severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, it is advised to be familiar with the allergens which could trigger your allergies by taking an allergy test. Keep in mind that though allergy testing can give you valuable information, regular testing is not necessary. These tests are done to help you pin down the cause of your reactions and can aid you to avoid them in the future.

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Types of Allergy Tests 
Skin Prick Test
A trained allergy specialist will lightly scratch or prick your skin and place a small drop of different allergens on your skin. If you are allergic to one or more of these allergens, you will develop small red bumps at the prick site. Skin tests are usually done in the office of the doctor and can take about 20-40 minutes.
Intradermal Skin Test
Your attending physician will use a small thin needle and inject the surface of your skin with small amounts of allergens. A reaction will then appear on the site of the injection.
Patch Test 
They will place patches containing small amounts of allergen on your skin. You will need to wear these patches for 2 – 4 days. Your doctor will remove the patches and check for a reaction.
Blood Test
There are two types of blood tests used to determine your allergies. The first is called the total IgE test. It measures the overall number of IgE antibodies in your blood. The second is the specific IgE test which measures the level of IgE antibodies responding to allergens.
This type of test measures the amount of IgE antibodies in your blood. A large number of antibodies would mean that you have an allergy.

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Is Allergy Testing Safe?
If you are wondering whether allergy tests are safe – Yes! They are safe. Allergy tests are performed within the doctor’s office or a testing laboratory, ensuring that the proper instruments and procedures are done by a certified medical professional. 

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