Adult allergy testing is an assessment for allergies carried out by a trained allergy specialist to determine whether you are allergic to any substance or not. The examination may be done as a skin test, a blood test, or even in the form of an elimination diet.
A person is said to be allergic when their immune system overreacts to a substance in the environment. Pollen, for instance, is harmless. However, some people may overreact to it. The overreaction usually results in:
- A runny nose
- Blocked sinuses
- Watery, and itchy eyes
What are the types of allergens?
An allergen is a substance that can trigger an allergic reaction. There are three major types of allergens. These are:
- Inhaled allergens: They trigger allergic reactions when they make contact with the membranes of your throat or nostrils or your lungs. Pollen is the most prevalent inhaled allergen.
- Ingested allergens: They occur in some foods, like seafood, soy, and peanuts.
- Contact allergens: They cause an allergic reaction after coming in contact with your skin. An example of contact allergen is poison ivy. It causes itching and rash.
In an adult allergy test, the affected individual will be exposed to a small amount of the suspected allergen and the reaction observed.
What is the importance of adult allergy testing?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, at least 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergy. The most common allergens are the inhaled variety. Seasonal allergies, including hay fever, affect at least 40 million Americans.
The World Health Organisation found that at least 250,000 people die annually from asthma. With the right allergy care, these deaths can be avoided.
With allergy testing, you will get to know the exact moulds, pollen, or any other substance that you are allergic to. Sometimes, medications may be needed to treat adult allergies. Avoiding allergens is the most effective course of action.
How do you prepare for an adult allergy test?
You may need to suspend any medication you are currently taking before the test, as these can affect the results. Medicines that you may have to suspend include:
- Over-the-counter and prescription histamines
- Famotidine and other heartburn medications
- Anti-IgE monoclonal antibody asthma treatment
- Diazepam or other benzodiazepines
- Amitriptyline or other tricyclic antidepressants
How is the test done?
The test could take the form of a blood or a skin test. You may need to go on an elimination diet if you have a food allergy.
A blood test is the most accurate way to identify. A small amount of blood will be drawn and tested in our lab for the presence of antibodies. This test is known as IgE testing and has a high success rate in detecting IgE antibodies to several allergens.
Blood testing is scientifically validated as measuring the amount of antibodies produced in response to an allergen is the most effective way to determine the severity of your allergies.
Once your test is completed, and the exact allergen identified, you can work with your doctor to create a plan that will help you avoid them. Your doctor can also prescribe medications that may help relieve your symptoms.
Skin tests help with the identification of many allergens. These include food-related, airborne, and contact allergens. There are two types of skin test:
The first type of skin test is a scratch test. During a scratch test, the suspected allergen is placed in liquid and then dropped on a section of your skin using a special device. With the device, the specialist can puncture the allergen into the surface of your skin. You will be placed under close observation to watch your skin’s reaction to the foreign substance. If there is swelling, redness, itchiness, or elevation of the skin at the injection site, then it may be an indication that you are allergic to that particular allergen.
If the scratch test fails to yield a conclusive result, you can do an intradermal test. In an intradermal test, a small amount of the potential allergen is injected into your dermis. Your skin’s reaction will be monitored.
The patch test is another form of skin test. Adhesive patches laced with allergens are placed on your skin. The patches will remain on your skin for 48 hours and then reviewed, and again after 72-96 hours.