Allergy tests in children help detect which allergens they are allergic to. The history of symptoms is important in the diagnosis of allergies. It is very important to watch whether symptoms vary according to the time of day, the seasons, or possible exposures to pets and other potential allergens.
We must also take into account the possible changes that may have occurred in the diet. Severe reactions are often triggered quickly after exposure, such as by eating nuts or being bitten by an insect.
Allergy tests are used to determine if the symptoms really correspond to a real allergy or are caused by other problems. For example, contaminated foods (food poisoning) can cause symptoms that resemble food allergies.
There are different ways to find the specific allergen causing the allergy:
- Skin tests: they are the most used method in allergy tests. Skin tests include intradermal, scarification, patch, and other examinations. Skin exams may even be an option for babies and young children, depending on the circumstances.
- Blood test- Also called RAST (radioallergosorbent test), it measures the levels of allergic IgE antibodies produced when blood is mixed with a number of allergens in a laboratory. If the person is allergic to a substance, the levels of IgE may increase in the blood sample.
The blood test may be used if the person has existing skin problems such as eczema, if they are taking long-acting or cannot stop medications, if they have a history of anaphylaxis, or if the person prefers not to have the skin test.
- Eyelid test- Sometimes the suspected allergen dissolves and drips onto the conjunctiva or lining of the lower eyelid as a means of testing for allergies. (This test should only be performed by the physician and not the patient, as it can cause harm if performed improperly).
- '' application '' or '' removal '' tests: different types of elements are removed and / or introduced, while observing the person's response to the substance. This is often used when testing for food or drug allergies.
- Tests of reaction to physical stimulus: application of heat, cold or other stimulus, to then look for the allergic response.
- High levels of antibodies / immunoglobulin (particularly IgE) indicate a sensitized immune system.
- The complete blood count that can reveal an increase in eosinophils. Complement levels may be abnormal.
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