A sudden sign that you might have a severe allergy often comes after a meal, particularly when you are trying a food for the first time. The interaction mechanism is so sensitive that minute quantities of the allergen can cause itching and swelling, usually around the face, neck and mouth. This can distinguish an allergy from an intolerance, which usually presents with gastrointestinal symptoms.
Seasonal changes can also bring on allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Many people self-manage this with antihistamines, but on some occasions, will feel completely overwhelmed by their symptoms. This can occur when you’re heavily exposed to allergens that your body reacts strongly against. The key to managing them is identifying your triggers.
We use an advanced system that uses antigen-coated caps. If you have an allergy to a specific antigen, antibodies will seek it out and bind to it. A ‘positive’ allergy test will show raised levels of antibodies in the blood sample.
This test is more comprehensive than a skin prick or scratch test. If you have a suspected allergy, the antigens in the cap will bind to the antibodies in your blood sample. This ‘positive’ result can be paired with your clinical history to better understand exactly what is causing your allergy and how severe your reaction may be.
If your results come back negative, you’ll prevent unnecessary avoidance of certain foods and activities. But if they come back positive, we’ll provide the information to your referring GP. In many cases, you’ll be encouraged to see a Specialist to help interpret the results. They’ll use the information to help you manage your lifestyle and limit the negative impacts of your allergies.
Total avoidance may be necessary for some foods such as peanuts, fish and shellfish among others. Allergies to latex gloves can be managed by swapping with those made of vinyl or polythene.
A patient who lives with a dog, carpets and near trees could finally understand which of the three causes their most severe reactions. Knowing you’re allergic to dust mites and not your dog may mean you change your carpets for hardwood floors and let the dog inside.
Knowing the pollens that set off your allergies could mean you’re confident to go back to the park or open windows, but simply avoid certain trees and plants in spring and early summer.