Allergies are immune system reactions to a particular food or substance. Studies suggest they affect around 20% of the UK population and range from a mild inconvenience to life-threatening illnesses.
People can be allergic to all sort of things, and these can range from foods, dust mites, pollens or even animal hair. Unlike food intolerances, the effects of an allergic reaction happen almost immediately with symptoms such as red itchy eyes, a rash or wheezing or coughing being prevalent.
Discovering what exactly you are allergic to can sometimes be tricky as the NHS offers a limited amount of allergen testing. This ultimately leaves people turning to private healthcare and trusted home kits to get a better understanding of the risks they potentially face.
What should you do if you think you have an allergy?
If you think you may have an allergy, it may be wise to keep a diary of the food you digest and things around you to try to pinpoint the offending substance. Although helpful, this isn’t going to be 100% accurate as factors such as the time of year and severity of reaction may cloud individual judgements.
You should also consult a GP or trained health practitioner who will be able to recommend a suitable test. If your allergic reaction has the potential to be life-threatening, they will also guide you through specific situations until more is learned about the condition.
Remember, allergies can often be hereditary, which means if someone in your family has an allergy, you should learn whether you may suffer too.
Getting a test
There are many different tests available, so it’s worth doing your research to find the best test for you.
A simple blood test is the most common method used to identify allergies through IgE antibody testing. IgE allergies can lead to serious symptoms like difficulty breathing, swelling and hives. At their worst, they can lead to anaphylactic shock.
It’s therefore vital that you identify the cause of any suspected allergy so you know which foods to avoid going forward.
Blood tests can be done as well as, or alongside, a skin prick test. Easy home-to-lab kits are available for affordable prices and are an efficient way of determining what is causing a problem.
They work by retrieving a sample of blood from the body to be tested against common allergens in the laboratory. Scientists can then focus on finding elevated levels of IgE to indicate certain allergic reactions.
Unlike a skin prick test, this type of testing may take a couple of days to find out the results, but you will often be given a more detailed guide on why your body has an adverse reaction.
Order your allergen test
With something as serious as an allergy, it’s crucial that you find out as soon as possible. Not only for your peace of mind, but to protect your health. Order your at-home test today to find out for sure.