General Health Monday October 24, 2011

Allergy testing on LabsDirect

Last week we announced our plans for our new DNA section, but along with this new addition, we’ll also be adding a few allergy tests.

Allergies are extremely common in the UK. In fact, the British Allergy Foundation believes that around one in three people experience allergies at some point in their lives. This number is on the increase every year and experts are of the opinion that this is because we are living in a cleaner, more sterile environment, meaning that many of us aren’t able to develop a tolerance to many of the allergens that used to be a natural part of our existence.

Inhaled allergies are far more common than food allergies and people with inhaled allergies often tend to be sensitive to a number of allergens, which may include dust mites, dogs, cats, mould, pollen from trees and grass. The most common food allergies are to milk and eggs, which can sometimes go away as a person gets older.

You experience an allergic reaction to some of these perfectly normal substances because your body perceives a specific substance as a threat to your body, which activates your body’s natural immune response to it. This can cause anything from a mild reaction, such as a sneeze, to far more serious effects resulting in a serious rash or even anaphylaxis.

During this reaction your body releases specific antibodies known as IgE antibodies that are allergen specific and this is what our allergy tests are able to test for. These tests are different from traditional skin prick tests, as it’s safer for people who are likely to develop very serious reaction to even the mildest exposure.

The tests we will be providing are finger prick tests that will require you to provide a small amount of capillary blood from your ear or fingertip. One type of test focuses on testing for inhaled allergies to 12 different allergens, while the other may be able to tell you which of the 12 main food allergens you are sensitive to.

These tests can be extremely helpful in finding out which allergens you should eliminate from your environment or protect yourself against with the help of medication.

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