Allergy Test

Allergy Test

Allergy testing in Singapore is widely available especially since food allergies are more prevalent now. In fact, 1 in 13 children have food allergies. Let’s take a look at what allergy tests are and how they work.

What are Allergy tests?

Allergy tests are performed to identify if your body is allergic to certain substances. Essentially, an allergic reaction is the overreaction of your immune system when it comes into contact with some harmless substances like food, mold, and dust. 

There are various ways to test for allergies, these are:

  • Skin prick/scratch test: thin needles with 10 to 50 allergens, are used to prick or scratch the skin on your back or forearm. Another way is to place droplets of allergens onto the pricked or scratched area. Checks for allergy to airborne allergens, food, and penicillin.
  • Intradermal skin test: used if the skin prick test comes back negative or inconclusive. Small amounts of allergens are injected into the outer later of your skin (the epidermis). Checks for allergy to airborne allergens, medications, and insect bites.
  • Patch test: drops of the allergen are placed on your skin which is then covered with a bandage. After 48 to 96 hours, the bandage is removed to check for signs of an allergic reaction. Checks for the causes of contact dermatitis. 
  • Blood (IgE) test: a sample of your blood is taken and sent to the lab for analysis. Allergens are added to the sample of your blood and the levels of IgE (immunoglobulin E) are measured.
  • Challenge tests: usually performed in a hospital setting. Individuals with a suspected food allergy must ingest small amounts of the food and an allergist will observe to see if any allergic reaction occurs. 
Allergy skin prick test

How do Allergy tests work?

Allergy tests are conducted by introducing or exposing small amounts of allergens to your skin, blood, or via ingestion, then watching for a reaction. The allergens used in an allergy test are proteins from substances that have been known to trigger allergies. An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to these proteins by producing antibodies known as IgE. Hence, testing your blood for IgE levels can identify which allergens you are allergic to. 

Who needs an Allergy test?

If you experience the following symptoms, you may be having an allergic reaction, and should undergo an allergy test to find out what you are allergic to.

  • Itchy, runny, or blocked nose
  • Constant sneezing
  • Itchy or tickly throat
  • Itchy, red, and watery eyes
  • Coughing 
  • Wheezing
  • Pain or pressure in your sinuses
  • Chest tightness (difficulty breathing)

Some allergic reactions are life-threatening, pay attention to your symptoms and seek medical help if you are having difficulty breathing.

How do I prepare for an Allergy test in Singapore?

An allergy test is only accurate if its results are analysed in consideration of your general health and medical history. Before your allergy test, you must:

  • Log your allergy symptoms, when they occur, and for how long
  • Stop taking antihistamines at least 3 days before your test
  • Stop over the counter medications such as antacids as these might affect the test results

What are the benefits of an Allergy test in Singapore?

  • Able to find out what you are allergic to
  • Non-invasive
  • No downtime

What are the risks or complications of an Allergy test?

The most common effect of an allergy test are rashes. However, a small amount of individuals experience an anaphylactic shock which is a severe but rare allergic reaction where your blood pressure drops, your airways start to narrow, and breathing becomes increasingly difficult.

These complications can be avoided by performing allergy testing via blood tests instead of skin prick test.

Frequently asked questions

Does allergy testing hurt?

You may feel some mild discomfort, but allergy tests are not painful. Discomfort and complications from the allergy testing can be avoided by doing the blood tests instead of skin prick test.

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