An allergic reaction is a condition in which your immune system reacts to a foreign substance extraordinarily. The immune system thinks that the foreign substance is a threat to the body. The only problem is, this reaction can be very dangerous. Prospective allergens are everywhere (substances against which the allergic reaction kicks in). These allergens can be dust, pollen, pet hair, or specific food. If you start sneezing in the vicinity of a cat or a dog, you are allergic to animal fur. Similarly, if you begin to feel uneasy around flowers, you are allergic to pollen. Allergies to nuts or a bee sting can even be life-threatening because the breathing tube swells and blocks the air passage. A timely allergy test can find out which substances you are allergic to and you can take an antihistamine medication to fight off allergies.
Wondering what is an allergy? Your immune system is supposed to guard you against infections and other pathogens. A pathogen is a bacterium, a virus, or any other microorganism that can enter your body and cause a disease. Sometimes your immune system begins to consider even normal substances that enter your body, as pathogens. Depending on how seriously your immune system takes the substance that your body has just been exposed to, the reaction can be casual as well as severe. A casual reaction might be something like sneezing, coughing, irritation in the eyes, or rashes in the skin. Serious reactions might be swelling of the face or the skin, internal inflammation and swelling, vomiting, fainting, inability to breathe, or going into seizures.
There is no single allergy test because you might be allergic to different things. Some people are allergic to eggs. Some are allergic to honey. Allergies to nuts are so common in the US that they have to write on the food packages whether they contain nuts or not.
Some known allergy tests include the IgE total antibody test, the platelet thrombocytes count, the WBC-total counts of leucocytes test, and some other tests recommended by your doctor.
There are some known allergens
Some food items (dairy products, honey, nuts, and such)
Animal dander (microscopic flecks of skin and hair)
Cockroaches and other insects
Insect sting (bee sting, for example)
Certain drugs and medications
The problem with allergies may be that most of the symptoms of allergies are also symptoms of certain illnesses and viral infections. For example, when people sneeze excessively, they think that they are coming down with the flu. Similarly, when rashes appear on the skin, they mistakenly think that they have got an infection. An allergy test can reveal the true source. And a good thing about taking an allergy test is that a good antihistamine medication can free you of these allergies and you can be in the company of pets and flowers without any problem.
Frequenlty Asked Questions
Why is it important to get an allergy test done?
Some allergies are simply annoying. Some allergies can be life-threatening. In both cases, it is important to get an allergy test done. If an allergy is life-threatening, there is all the more reason to find the root cause and take the right medication. Suppose you are allergic to a bee sting, this can be life-threatening and you must carry medicines in your pocket. Similarly, allergy to nuts can also be life-threatening. Even if an allergy is not life-threatening, it can simply reduce your quality of life. If you are highly allergic to pollen, you cannot go into a garden or near a flower pot without getting into a sneezing fit. If you are allergic to animal dander, you can never go near a pet. But, an allergy test can easily remove these hurdles.
Is allergy a disease?
Yes, it is a common chronic disease. Your body’s immune system sees the substance as harmful and overreacts to it. Many allergic reactions can lead to hay fever, sinusitis, asthma, inflammation in the lungs, bronchitis, eczema, anaphylaxis, and other potentially dangerous ailments.
What is the process of getting an allergy test done?
The most common is the IgE test that counts the immunoglobulins in your blood. Hence, once you fix up an appointment for your allergy test, a phlebotomist visits you to draw blood from your arm. After collecting the sample, he submits the blood sample to the lab. You get the results in a couple of days and you know the status of your allergic reaction. Accordingly, your doctor can prescribe medication or an antihistamine.
Can allergies be treated without medication?
If you don’t want to take medication, the best way of avoiding allergies is, avoiding allergens. In normal, day-to-day life, it may not be possible. For example, the seasonal flu is something in the air. You cannot close your doors and windows and remain inside all the time. Similarly, if you need to visit family and friends, or even sit in a park, furry animals are everywhere. You can wear a mask. An N95 mask is supposed to block 95% of small particles. Some people have also tried getting their bodies accustomed to allergens. For example, if someone is allergic to eggs, the person first starts rubbing the egg on the skin. Then, after a few weeks, he or she starts consuming very small portions of the egg. It hasn’t scientifically been proven whether these techniques actually work or not.
How does an allergy test help?
An allergy test confirms if your immunoglobulin levels have increased. When they overreact, you experience allergic reactions. This can be good news and bad news. The good news is that the symptoms don’t indicate other illnesses and if the allergens are removed from the environment, you can feel better. The bad news is that as soon as you are exposed to the same allergens, you begin to suffer again. But the better news is, you can start taking the appropriate antihistamines and these can take away most of your allergy-related problems, or at least curtail them.