Dry blood spot or DBS testing provides an easy and efficient way to collect and analyse blood samples. These samples can be taken with at-home kits, which are then shipped to our labs. These include a lancet to administer the blood prick and blood spot cards to collect the samples.
DBS testing is an example of bio sampling, and at Healthy Stuff, you can utilise a DBS for allergy and intolerance testing because these samples are dried, there is less of a risk of infection or contamination when transporting, storing and handling the blood specimens.
The samples can also be contained for long periods without the concentrations of the analytes in plasma decreasing over time. Making it an ideal way to collect samples away from a clinical environment.
Testing for Allergies
Blood allergy testing helps make a conclusive diagnosis of whether a patient has an immune response to something. Once the individual collects the dried blood sample, the kit is shipped to the lab.
Here the technicians at Healthy Stuff will look to see if you have an allergy. To do this, the blood test will utilise an ELISA or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to discover any increase in immune response within the patient’s blood and how that affects the body.
So if you want to know if you have an allergy or intolerance, there is an excellent correlation between the blood spot analysis and determining how your body responds to known allergens. So your immune system will produce IgE or Immunoglobulin E antibodies, causing an allergic reaction if present.
Benefits of DBS for Allergy Testing
Using dried blood samples has its advantages over liquid blood samples, including the following:
Spotting Allergies and Intolerances in Your Adult Years
Dried blood testing is an ideal way to spot allergies in your adult life. Generally, these blood tests would be used in newborn screenings, also referred to as a heel prick test, when a baby is a few days old. A doctor performs this to ensure the newborns don’t have any rare health conditions from an early age like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia or severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).
But it’s possible for adults, particularly women, to develop allergy and intolerance responses at any stage of their life. So these at-home kit tests are an excellent resource to determine if there’s any abnormality in how your immune system reacts when presented with an allergen.
Common allergies in your adult years can be triggered by pollen, dust, milk, eggs and peanuts. The rise in allergen-specific IgE levels can be due to genetic reasons. For example, you may have noticed a family history of hay fever, and previous symptoms could be the reason you decided to take a DBS test.
Recognising COVID-19 Variants
In addition, DBS tests have been crucial in detecting COVID-19 antibodies in the blood, specifically the SARS-CoV-2 antibody. COVID-19 testing has been paramount to keeping rates down, especially for those who may have been infected previously.
Making Allergy Testing More Streamlined
DBS testing also allows patients to administer the drop of blood samples at their own pace. This makes it more manageable for individuals who may not be able to reach a clinic easily.
Compared to traditional intravenous methods to collect blood, patients don’t need to produce samples in such high quantities. It’s also less invasive, making the process more efficient so you can do it yourself.