Allergy Testing Guide – DIY or Visiting your doctor?

6 months ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

If one is suffering from the onset of an allergy, then it is imperative to determine the cause of that allergy because if the allergen remains undetected then in the future such reactions can occur again.

What causes allergies?

Usually, ingestion of specific foods causes allergies, but it can also be due to any environmental pollutant or allergen. Allergy can also occur from animal hairs, flies, etc. House dust is also a very potent allergen. The immune system receives a red alert when an allergen enters the body and launches itself into it so that the allergen can be destroyed or eliminated. Usually, food allergies are caused by food products which are not harmful to human beings in general, but the immune system of people who suffer from allergies reacts against those food products. When the immune system overreacts, the body has to bear the pain and discomfort. Any intolerance can cause an allergic reaction which can lead to a host of symptoms. Swelling, rashes, skin irritation, tingling and many such symptoms occur during allergic reactions.

Guidelines for people who are prone to allergies

Getting tested for allergies is the most suitable way to determine allergy causing products. Before the test is performed, it is appropriate to consult one's physician for advice. One should also inform the allergist who will be conducting the test regarding any present health issues or medications that he/she is taking. Knowing about the procedure of the test is necessary and also the time that will be taken to conduct the test.

Once the test has been performed the person should tell the allergist if he/she is feeling any pain. The result of the test should be understood in detail by the individual, and if there are any queries regarding the result, it should be clarified from the doctor.

When testing for allergies is done medically then at times one gets a false positive result. This false positive result means that even if the immune system of the individual does not react with that particular allergen, but that person's test results reports the opposite.

The suitability of determining allergens through observation

Apart from the above mentioned medical process present for detecting allergens, one can also draw inferences about one's allergies from accurate view. Opting for the self examination should be done carefully because one never knows the severity of an allergic outbreak.

However, it is true that to some extent allergic products can be determined by observing or looking out for signs of discomfort after having a particular food product. If it causes any puffiness, itching then one is probably allergic to that foodstuff and avoiding it will keep allergies away. If the cost of getting an allergy profile is not permitted by one's budget then taking recourse to self-examination is better so that at least some allergies can be prevented. False positives also won’t occur in the case of self-testing. However, when a person is severely allergic, then it is sensible to take a medical test instead of going down the route of self-testing.

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