Millions of individuals in the United States are suffering from allergies. Your eyes may tear or you may feel itchy when your stroke your pet or dust your home. When the season changes, you may find yourself sneezing or your nose may start to run. Certain types of food may make you cough or wheeze. If you want to find out what is causing your allergy symptoms, your best option is an allergy blood test.
There are different kinds of testing available. Your doctor will be able to determine which type of test you need. An allergy blood test measures the allergen antibodies found in your blood. Allergens are what trigger your allergies. Antibodies are produced by your body to protect you from allergens. These antibodies instruct your cells to release specific chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for your symptoms.
One of the antibodies most strongly associated with the allergy response of your body is Immunoglobulin E (IgE). An allergy blood test looks for a minimum of ten of the most common triggers. This includes:
• Pet dander
You may have heard allergy blood tests called immunoassay tests. There are different types of tests including:
RAST (Radioallergosorbent Test): This test identifies your allergy triggers by looking for your allergen antibodies. Although this test was once common, it is not often used since the ELISA test was developed.
ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay): This test measures the specific levels of allergen antibodies contained in your blood.
Eosinophil: This test looks at your white blood cell count to help determine if you are suffering from allergies. There are other issues that can impact your white blood cells.
Standard Blood Tests: Other blood tests may be performed to measure the chemicals being released. This may be the cause of your allergies.
Reasons to Have an Allergy Blood Test
In some cases, allergy skin testing may be recommended. If you are taking any medications proven to interfere with the results of an allergy blood test, you may be unable to stop taking it for a couple of days. This includes:
• Specific antidepressants
In this instance, your doctor may recommend an allergy skin test. There are also a lot of reasons an allergy blood test may be recommended. This includes:
- If you are unable to tolerate the numerous needle scratches necessary for skin testing.
- If you have asthma that is not well controlled.
- If you have a severe skin condition such as psoriasis, dermatitis or eczema.
- If you have a heart condition that is currently unstable.
- If you have ever had anaphylaxis. This is a severe allergic reaction.
- If you have ever experienced an extreme or negative reaction to skin testing.
- If you are currently undergoing immunotherapy, an allergy blood test can determine if your allergies have been outgrown and if your treatments are having any effect.
There are a wide variety of benefits associated with having an allergy blood test. This includes:
- You can have an allergy blood test at any time.
- If your result is positive, it means specific allergy antibodies were found in your blood. In most cases, this means you have one or more allergies.
- This test is preferable for both extremely young children and infants.
- The test will not be influenced by any medications you may be taking.
- Only one needle stick is necessary as opposed to the many required for skin testing. This is an exceptional benefit if you are afraid of needles.
It is important to check with your health insurance company to find out if they will cover an allergy blood test. Some insurers do, while others do not. Since your blood sample will be evaluated by a lab, your test results will not be available immediately. Your test will determine exactly what is causing your allergies.
If your result is negative, you most likely do not have any allergy. This means there has been no response from your immune system regarding the allergens you were tested for. If you are allergic to something you were not tested for, you may still have an allergy. In this instance, you may be allergic to something much less common. The results from your allergy blood test will be interpreted by your doctor.
Both your medical history and symptoms will be considered prior to a specific allergy being diagnosed. Allergy blood tests are fairly safe, Most people do not experience any side effects. When they do, they are usually minor. If you are ready to find out what is causing your allergies, call us today at 205-352-9141.