Allergy testing at Exeter Hospital
An allergy is a response or hypersensitivity to a substance that would normally be harmless but it produces a reaction in your body. Read more…
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Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG
More information about buying allergy blood tests can be found on our FAQs page.
Allergies cause immune system reactions ranging from a runny nose to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Allergy testing measures the amount of IgE (allergy) antibodies in your blood. IgE antibodies are produced when your body reacts to substances that you might be allergic to, such as specific foods. A variety of methods is available for allergen-specific IgE tests. The traditional RAST (radioallergosorbent test) test has been replaced with a newer IgE –specific immunoassay method. All allergen IgE tests are referred to as RAST tests by some Doctors even though this is a specific test method and may not be the same method used in the laboratory.
To determine what substance is triggering an allergic reaction, your blood can be tested against common allergens in the laboratory. The severity of allergic response is due to a combination of genetic background and extent of exposure to allergens.
Unlike a skin prick test, results of an allergy test may take a few days. In the lab a sample of your blood is exposed to different allergens (substances) that you may be allergic to. Elevated levels of IgE indicate an allergic reaction. Most allergies can be dealt with by managing your lifestyle and through medication and avoidance. In some cases, your reaction to a specific allergen is non IgE mediated and may not be confirmed by this test.
Generally, inhaled allergens such as dust mites, tree, grass or weed pollens will produce respiratory symptoms. Ingested (food) allergies will produce skin and/or gastrointestinal symptoms or anaphylaxis. However, both types of allergens (ingested and inhaled) can produce the full spectrum of allergy symptoms.
In order to deal with allergy symptoms most effectively, it is first necessary to determine what is causing an allergy. Allergy tests provide specific information about what you are allergic to and indicate what foods and inhalants are associated with antibodies that may cause allergic reactions.
Common allergies come from:
- Waste products from dust mites that live in your home, moulds in your home or in the air outside, tree, grass and weed pollen and cockroach droppings.
- Foods such as nuts, dairy and dairy products, natural rubber latex such as gloves or balloons and drugs such as penicillin.
Elimination of positive foods and reduction of exposure to inhalant allergens will help bring allergy symptoms under control. Considerable improvement in the quality of life can be achieved including improved sleep quality due to less congestion, reduction in sneezing and nose–blowing, improved ability to exercise, and better control of atopic dermatitis (eczema).
Various allergen profiles are available, individual allergens can also be ordered.
Our Inhalant Allergy Profile includes trees, weeds, dust mites and common animal allergens.
Our Food Allergy Profile includes most of the common food types.
|Profile||Includes test for :|
|Food||Nuts, fruits, fish, egg white, cow's milk|
|Trees, weeds, moulds, dust mite, grasses, animals|
|Food and Inhalant combined|
|Children's profile||Egg white, cow's milk, cod, wheat, peanut, timothy grass, dust mite, kiwi fruit, strawberry|
|Shell fish||Clam, crab, crayfish, lobster, octopus, prawn/shrimp, scallops, squid|
|Fin fish||Cod, herring, mackerel, plaice, sardine, salmon, swordfish, tuna, sole|
|Cereal||Wheat, oats, maize (corn), sesame seed, buckwheat, rye, barley, rice|
|Antibiotics||Penicillin G and V, Ampicillin, Amoxicillin, Cefaclor|
Nuts and seeds
|Peanut, hazel nut, brazil, almond, coconut, pecan, cashew, pistachio, walnut, pumpkin, poppy, macadamia|
|Honey bee, bumble bee, common wasp, European hornet, yellow hornet, white faced hornet|
|Domestic birds||Budgerigar, canary, parakeet, parrot, finch|
|Farm fowl||Chicken, duck, goose, turkey|
|Spice mix 1||Caraway, mace, cardamom, clove|
|Spice mix 2||Basil, fennel seed, ginger, anise|