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Oct 30

Allergy Blood Tests: There are many types of cheap allergy blood testing methods available but most of them have poor reproducibility. Moreover, these tests normally report the results with fancy colourful charts which appear impressive but provide little information to the professionals. These tests often give false positive or false negative results that may cause more harm than good. In general, hospitals worldwide do not use these types of allergy testing methods but use the cap RAST technique as the only method of choice.

The Cap RAST method uses a state-of-the-art technique that is accepted world wide as the in-vitro Gold Standard. Moreover, the IgE level estimated by the equipment is standardized against the World Health Organization immunology standards for IgE maintained by them. The cap RAST reports the results in both quantitative and qualitative terms for professional assessment. Therefore, the allergy blood test using the cap RAST is the method of choice because it is sensitive, accurate, safer, convenient and unaffected by medication taken by the patient. The allergy blood test can be performed in babies and elderly and in persons with severe eczema in whom it is difficult to do the skin test.

The choice of the allergens selected for test depends on the clinical history. Usually the doctor may select about 12 to 15 allergens based on his experience but in some cases he may select less allergen for testing. Skill and experience is required to interpret the result and in most cases the test results often fit the clinical observation and confirm the diagnosis. Appropriate avoidance measures should be immediately implemented. The benefits of the avoidance measures usually become apparent within the first few days.

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Oct 27

Allergy test
Since avoidance of the provoking allergen/s is the best therapy it is vital to identify the offending allergens accurately as soon as possible. In many cases a careful and systemic history combined with clinical examination may provide useful clues to the nature of the potential allergens. Avoidance based on guesswork may cause more harm to the child or adult in question. Allergy tests should be performed quickly to accurately identify the suspected allergen triggering the symptoms.

There are two types of allergy test available:

(1) Skin Prick Test, and

(2) Allergy Blood Test, based on ‘Cap RAST’ performed on a blood sample.

Skin Prick Test: In this test small drops of allergens in variable concentration is placed on the forearm and the dermis punctured with a special lancet. The development of a raised area (called wheal) similar to a mosquito bite appears within minutes and the area surrounding the wheal becomes reddened (flare). The response is compared to negative and positive controls run at the same time. A positive reaction for the allergen is confirmed when the swelling reaches a certain size which is bigger than the negative control.

This test has many limitations. Skin testing is dangerous in highly sensitive patients and there have been fatalities recorded in the past. Patients must stop taking anti-histamines for at least 7 to 28 days (depending on drug) because the drug suppresses the skin reaction causing the development of a false negative result. The skin test is not useful for babies and the elderly. In general skin tests are not useful indicators for food allergies because of the frequent false positive reactions. Skin testing is being rapidly replaced with allergy blood testing.

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Oct 25

Digestive tract: Food allergy symptoms may be associated with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. Food allergy may also be responsible for eczema, asthma, chronic rhinitis, ear problem, gastrointestinal distress, headache, fatique, hyperactivity and depression. In rare instances foods may cause a life-threatening systemic response called anaphylaxis. For instance peanut allergy can be so severe in some children and adults that it results in anaphylactic shock.

Ears: Symptoms of recurrent infection or fluid in the middle ear can be provoked by allergic reaction and eventually result in loss of hearing. Both airborne allergens and food allergy can plays a role in many instances.
Emotional factors: Although allergy is a physical disorder it can be aggravated by intense stress, fear, anxiety, anger, extreme aggravation, and other emotional strains.

Additional provoking factors: Some irritating substances like tobacco smoke, paint solvent, vehicle exhaust, diesel fumes, strong perfumes, chlorine in swimming pools and other chemicals can act as promoters of allergy and worsen the symptoms in many instances.

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