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Allergy Testing: Demystifying Allergy Mysteries - Allergy Results
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Allergy Testing: Demystifying Allergy Mysteries

Generally speaking, each of us has a different and unique reaction to various allergy inducing substances. This necessitates the performance of allergy testing to isolate and identify specific substances to which an individual is allergic. Several testing methodologies like skin tests, elimination-type tests, and the radioallergosorbent tests (RAST) are widely used allergy testing procedures.

Skin testing procedures have two widely used variants, the scratch test wherein a small amount of a suspected allergy-causing substance is placed underneath the skin. After introduction of allergen, the patient is observed for any signs of a tell-tale allergic reaction. By employing this kind of allergy testing procedure, doctors can perform simultaneous tests on suspected at once and have the results available within 20 minutes.

Another method of skin allergy testing is the injection of a small amount of allergen beneath the surface of the skin and observing for any reaction. Skin tests are recommended to determine respiratory, medical and chemical, insect bite and some food allergies.

Elimination-type tests are preferred method of testing for food allergies

Elimination process of allergy testing is commonly done to establish food allergy. In the procedure, a patient is continuously observed for any health changes as he undergoes the one-by-one elimination of suspected allergy-causing foods from his diet over a span weeks and gradual re-introduction of the same foods in the same manner.

To eliminate an individuals susceptibility to suggestion, it is recommended that a double-blind test of suspected foods and placebos be administered. In this manner, the patient and provider are both unaware if the food substance in a particular session is the placebo or the suspected food itself. The substances are identifiable only to a third party by some sort of marking on the container. Double-blind tests require several sessions if more than one food substance is suspected as the allergy cause.

Another type of test is the RAST, which is a laboratory test of the patient’s blood. This method of allergy testing is designed to count specific IgE antibodies in the blood, which are normally present if there is a true allergic reaction to any substance.

Other manners of allergy testing are immunoglobulin measurements and blood cell differential or absolute eosinophil count. An abnormal increase in the count of eosinophils indicates allergy reaction. Provocation or challenge allergy testing involves the patients exposure to the suspected allergen under clinically controlled conditions supervised by a qualified doctor, as there is a great probability of dangerous allergic reactions.

Before subjecting a patient to any type of allergy testing, the doctor needs necessary information on your illnesses, social and emotional conditions, work, entertainment and lifestyle habits, and foods and eating preferences in order to preclude any dangerous complications.

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