Home Allergy Tests
Allergies are one of the so-called civilisation diseases. They occur mainly in western industrial nations. The number of allergic diseases has risen rapidly since the middle of the 20th century. In Europe, around 60 million people are affected by an allergy - The UK has some of the highest prevalence rates of allergic conditions in the world, with over 20% of the populatio Read more...
Allergies are one of the so-called civilisation diseases. They occur mainly in western industrial nations. The number of allergic diseases has risen rapidly since the middle of the 20th century. In Europe, around 60 million people are affected by an allergy - The UK has some of the highest prevalence rates of allergic conditions in the world, with over 20% of the population affected by one or more allergic disorder.
Before the allergy blood test: How do allergies work?
To understand home allergy tests, it is worth understanding what happens when you have an allergy: The immune system reacts with defensive reactions to allergens, to substances that are completely harmless. These allergens are usually proteins found in food, pollen, animal hair and the faeces of the dust mite, among other things. In the case of an allergy, the body develops a sensitisation to allergens. It produces large amounts of certain IgE antibodies that attach themselves to the mast cells of the immune system. When the allergens enter the body again, they attach to the IgE antibodies - whereupon these cause the mast cell to release the messenger substance histamine. The histamine is what causes inflammation in the body and thus symptoms such as sneezing, sniffing nose, itchy eyes, skin rashes, dizziness and gastrointestinal problems.
How can I test for allergies at home?
You can carry out an allergy test at the convenience of your home, for example with the allergy test kits from cerascreen. The tests target different types of allergies, including food allergies with the Food Allergy Test, or pollen allergies with the Pollen Allergy Test.
For the home allergy tests you take a small blood sample with a pinch in your finger and send it to a medical laboratory by using the free return envelope. The medical laboratory analyses the sample and measures the concentration of specific IgE antibodies in your blood. You will then receive an individual result report which reveals whether and to what extent you are sensitised to the allergens tested. This does not automatically mean that you have an allergy, but it is a first indication that you can follow up on. Only a specialist can make a reliable allergy diagnosis.
The results reports also provide further recommendations - for example on what you can do if you suspect to have a food allergy.
What allergy testing methods are there?
There are different ways to test for allergies. A common way that doctors use is the prick test method: This involves scratching various allergens slightly under the skin. If a wheal forms on one of the pricks within a few seconds or minutes, there is a sensitisation to the allergen.
Sensitisation can also be detected in the blood: Laboratories can check the concentration of specific IgE antibodies in a blood sample taken for a blood test. The antibodies detected in such an allergy test can be assigned to allergens - and thus to certain foods or types of pollen, for example.
Important: Sensitisation is not yet an allergy. Sometimes an allergy test reveals a lot of IgE antibodies in the blood, but it does not cause an allergic reaction. Doctors only talk about an allergy if there are symptoms. To be really sure, you can do a provocation test: A doctor gives you an increasing dose of an allergen and observes whether symptoms occur. Such a test can be result in an allergic shock and should therefore only be carried out under a doctor's supervision!