The immune system plays a significant role: it fights dangerous or foreign materials in the body, such as bacteria and viruses. When you have allergies, it means your body has abnormalities in the immune system. That is because an immune system should determine when something is harmful and represent the effects in a physical response as part of the defense.
Sometimes, you can easily figure out the reasons behind the allergic reaction. These reactions may result from different issues – perhaps after cleaning a musty attic or being in the same area as a cat or dog.
Protecting yourself isn’t an easy task. You come across thousands of substances in a day that can cause an allergic reaction, making it a hassle. The right thing for you to know whether you’re being affected by an allergen is to take an allergy test. The test will determine whether you’re allergic to a specific food you eat, substances you inhale, or things you touch.
Allergy tests are performed on your blood or on your skin. The results will show a natural body reaction if you are allergic to any of the tested substances.
If you experience an allergic reaction after consuming food, food allergy testing will show you the foods that are causing these symptoms. If your doctor suspects you are experiencing a food allergy, they’ll recommend you visit an allergist.
The allergist will test you for a reaction from these foods:
- Cow’s milk
- Egg whites
- Sesame seeds
What is a Food Allergy?
Food allergy refers to a condition where the immune system treats food proteins like an infectious agent or a harmful virus. Your immune system will respond to these foods, leading to:
- Skin symptoms like tingling, hives, redness, and itching. In babies, the primary symptom they commonly experience is rash.
- Respiratory system (nose, throat, and lungs) symptoms like wheezing, coughing, trouble breathing, tightness in the chest, and nasal congestion.
- Digestive system symptoms like a metallic taste in your mouth, itching of the tongue, swelling in the face, and abdominal pain.
If your child is allergic to certain foods, these are the common ones to suspect:
- Hen’s eggs
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
For adults, these are the common allergy-causing foods:
- Tree nuts
- Mollusks like mussels, oysters, and clams
- Crustaceans like lobster, crabs, and shrimp
In some cases, the doctor may realize that it is not a food allergy but food sensitivity. Food sensitivity is less severe, unlike a food allergy. Some of the common food sensitivities may result from:
Food sensitivity may lead to these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
Who Should Get Food Allergy Testing Done?
Anyone with symptoms should go for food allergy testing. However, this may result from various factors such as:
- Family history of allergies
- Other types of allergies like eczema or hay fever
- Other food allergies
Undertaking a food allergy test is essential for many reasons, mainly because food allergies will affect your comfort, health, and life. Therefore, these are the reasons to seek food allergy tests:
Living With Unknown Allergies
Most people have allergies, but their symptoms don’t show frequently. Besides, the symptoms they get are minor, which makes them hard to recognize as allergies.
Statistics show that over 40% of the population worldwide suffers from one or more allergic conditions. Most people can easily diagnose themselves if the issue is with pollen or hay fever as the leading cause of their allergies.
However, hay fever results from allergies to molds, grasses, dog dander, cat fur, or cockroaches. But to be sure of the cause of these allergies, you have to undergo an allergy test.
Prevention and Precaution
Without an allergy test, it will be difficult to determine the specific cause of the allergic reaction. It can be dangerous to because the reactions may become severe, making it difficult to breathe or go into shock.
The good thing is, when you’re aware of the causes of your allergies, it can be easier to take precautions. This is because your doctor can recommend you the proper medication for your allergy or have you wear an emergency bracelet.
On the other hand, when you know your child is allergic to something, you can inform their school in case of emergencies. In addition, you can also educate other members of your family or friends on how to manage your allergy triggers.
Proper Diagnosis Leads to Treatment
Your doctor has to diagnose your allergies before prescribing any treatment. All allergic reactions are not the same; some can be handled easily with over-the-counter medication.
However, moderate to severe allergies will require you to have a proper treatment plan. Your treatment plan may include nose sprays, shots, nebulizing treatments, or eye drops. These treatment methods will help keep the symptoms at bay.
Allergies That Develop in Adulthood
Some people have had allergies since they were children, but for others, they are unfortunate enough to have allergies develop in adulthood. This is a significant reason to take an allergy test. Realistically, you will require an allergy test most because more allergies may develop, and you may not know of their severity.
Tips for Food Allergy Testing
When you go for food allergy testing, it may involve the following:
- Allergy Blood Test
The allergist will withdraw your blood from the veins of your arm. The blood Immunoglobin E antibodies are checked because they are produced as a response to allergy-causing substances.
- Skin Prick Test
The other method of testing allergy is through the skin. The allergist will clean your forearm and prick the skin using a small device. A small drop of liquid is placed and extracted from the skin. After a few minutes, you experience a raised bump. The allergist will mark all the sites for easy identification of the substances tested.
- Oral Challenge Test
The allergist will provide you with food that is suspected of causing an allergy. After that, you are closely monitored for any allergic reaction. However, this process is used after the blood and skin prick tests to confirm an allergic reaction. Sometimes, you may test positive through the other methods but have no symptoms with an oral allergy. This test method is dangerous and requires close monitoring by an expert with emergency medical equipment.