Allergy: getting tested

Allergy: getting tested

If you realise that you or your child may have a good allergy, you can use NHS services to get your allergy diagnosed. This may involve having one or more allergy tests.

A good allergy test can establish whether you have a good allergy and what you’re allergic in order to.

“Knowing what you’re allergic to is key to managing your condition, ” says Allergy UK’s Lindsey McManus.

“If you have hay fever, you most likely don’t need allergy testing as it might be obvious from your symptoms that you’re allergic to pollen. But it’s important to find out the precise result in if your symptoms are more complicated. For example , perennial rhinitis (runny nose every year round) can be triggered by a variety of allergens, such as house dirt mites and mould, or a food allergy could be triggered by one of a number of foods in your diet. ”

Allergy testing also has a task in monitoring a diagnosed allergic reaction, says Lindsey.

“Babies and children with an allergic reaction, such as certain food allergies, frequently grow out of them. Regular screening can establish if the allergy has gone. It’s helpful for the parents and the child to know that they no longer have an allergic reaction to milk or eggs, for example , so that they no longer have to avoid that food. ”


NHS allergy testing

If you suspect an allergy, the first port of call is your DOCTOR. If, after discussing your signs and symptoms, your GP thinks you may have a good allergy, they may offer a blood test (formally known as a RAST test) to identify the cause of your allergy. Or they might refer you for testing. Most allergy tests are done in hospital outpatient clinics.

Find your local NHS allergy clinic.

Not every NHS hospital has an allergic reaction clinic, so you may have to wait lengthier and travel further for screening in some parts of the country.

At the allergy clinic, the type of test you’re offered will depend on your symptoms. Possible tests include the following.


Skin prick test

A skin prick test is usually the first test to be done when looking for an allergen. It’s quick, pain-free and safe, and you get the results within about 20 minutes. Your skin is certainly pricked with a tiny amount of the particular suspected allergen to see if there’s a reaction. If there is, the skin around the prick will very quickly become itchy, and a red wheal will appear.


Blood test

The blood test used to test for allergens is called a specific IgE test (formally known as the RAST test). It’s used to measure the number of IgE antibodies in your blood that have been produced by your immune system in response to a thought allergen.


Patch test

The particular patch test is used to see if a skin reaction, for example eczema, is certainly caused by contact with a specific chemical or even substance. A small amount of the suspect material or chemical, such as nickel, is certainly added to special metal discs, which are taped to your skin for forty eight hours and monitored for a response.

This test is usually carried out at a dermatology (skin) department in a hospital.


Food challenge

A food challenge, also called a good oral challenge, is the most accurate way in order to diagnose a food allergy. During the test, you’re given the food to which you think you are allergic in slowly increasing amounts to see how you respond. Only one food can be tested at each appointment.


Commercial medical tests

Some commercial allergic reaction testing kits, such as hair evaluation tests, kinesiology tests and VEGA medical tests, are not recommended by doctors since there is little scientific evidence to support them.


Private allergic reaction testing

If you choose to have private allergy testing, it’s important to view a reputable, trained specialist.

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