An allergy is a condition in which a body’s immune system reacts abnormally to foreign substances that are typically harmless to your body. These foreign substances include pollen, fur, certain foods, insect stings, medications and even dust.
The common symptoms of allergies include sneezing, runny or blocked nose, watering eyes, Swollen lips and tongue, tummy pain, feeling sick, vomiting, diarrhoea, cracked or dry skin. These symptoms vary from one person to another depending on what he or she is allergic to and how he or she has come into contact with the allergen. For instance you can have a blocked nose if exposed to dust, develop a rash if exposed to insect stings or vomit if you eat something you are allergic to.
For a person to be able to know about allergies, he or she must seek advice on how to identify allergy from an allergy specialist. These specialists are at a good position to help one identify his or her triggers. The following methods are used to identify allergy.
This is the most used method in finding the cause of allergies. There are three types of skin tests and they include scratch, intradermal and patch tests.
Scratch test is the first test done to a person. An allergen is placed in liquid. The liquid is then placed on a section of a person’s skin. The allergen is lightly teared into the skin surface. There is a close monitoring by the doctor to see how the skin reacts to the allergen. If there is swelling, redness or itchiness on the skin over the test site, then the person is allergic to that specific allergen.
Intradermal skin test. This test is done where a scratch test is not leading to a conclusion. A small amount of allergen is injected into the dermis layer of the skin and monitoring is done.
Patch testing is also another type of skin test. It involves the use of adhesive patches loaded with allergens and placing the patches on a person’s skin. The patches remain on the person’s body and they are reviewed at 48 hours after application.
Blood tests are an option when skin testing is not helpful or is impossible. This test is aimed at detecting and measuring the amount of allergen specific antibodies in a person’s blood. This is because when a person comes into contact with an allergen, the body makes antibodies against it.
Allergies can cause an increase in some types of white blood cells. Incase a doctor thinks that you have allergies, he or she can conduct a blood test to check the number of your white blood cells.
This test helps to identify the source of food allergies. This test required one to consume a small amount of a possible food allergen while the doctor observes the symptoms of an allergic reaction. After observing the symptoms, the doctor can conclude whether the food is an allergen or not. This method is simple but it must take place under close supervision of a doctor to avoid unnecessary complications.
In conclusion, there are three main methods of identifying allergy. They include skin tests, blood tests and challenge tests. That is my advice on how to identify allergy.