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How to prepare for allergy test in Malaysia

19 August 2022 · 10 mins read

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Most allergic reactions are mild, but some can be life threatening. Do you have symptoms of an allergy? Learn more about how to prepare for allergy test at Gleneagles Hospitals, Malaysia.

When the body's immune system abnormally reacts to a substance that usually does not provoke a reaction in the majority of people, this condition is called an allergy.

An allergy is a relatively common condition. Some people tend to be more susceptible to allergies. Hereditary and environmental factors contribute to allergy development.

However, although specific allergies are not hereditary, the likelihood of developing an allergy considerably increases if there are family members who have allergies.

Common allergens

Substances that trigger allergic responses are called allergens.

Below is the list of common allergens:

  • Tree and grass pollen
  • Animal fur
  • Food like fruit, nuts, shellfish, eggs
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Medications (certain antibiotics)
  • Latex
  • Household chemicals like hair dyes and detergents

Symptoms of an allergy

Allergy symptoms can significantly vary depending on the allergen that is involved. An allergy can affect your digestive system, skin, nasal passages, airways, and sinuses.

Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In severe cases, it can also cause a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Below is the list of symptoms of an allergy based on the type of allergen.

  1. Allergic rhinitis (hay fever caused by grass and tree pollen):
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Swollen, red and watery eyes
  1. Allergic reactions to certain foods:
  • Hives (raised, red and itchy rash)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Swelling of the throat, face, lips, or other parts of the body
  • Allergic rhinitis symptom
  1. Allergic reaction to certain medications:
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Swelling
  1. Allergic reaction to insects:
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling around the sting area
  • Shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the chest, wheezing
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  1. Skin allergies:
  • Flaking of skin
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Bumps

Anaphylaxis

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis, can develop suddenly and rapidly. The initial symptoms of anaphylaxis are mostly identical to those listed above. However, it might result in the following conditions:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Swollen mouth and throat
  • Chest tightness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from anaphylaxis, call for an ambulance immediately because anaphylaxis can be fatal if goes untreated

Types of allergy tests

An allergy test is conducted to investigate the type of allergen an individual has reactions to. The tests that can be performed include:

  1. Skin prick test: In this method, droplets of allergens are placed on your forearm. A medical device is used to gently prick the area. Within 15 minutes, an itchy, red bump will emerge on the skin if you are allergic to the substance.
  2. Blood test: Blood tests may be used in place of or in addition to skin prick testing to aid in diagnosing common allergies. Particular allergens are added to the blood, and the level of antibodies produced by your immune system is evaluated. You are likely to be allergic to the substance if large amounts of antibodies are produced for a particular allergen.
  3. Intradermal skin test: A small amount of allergen will be injected into the skin. If the injected area shows any reaction, the individual has an allergy.
  4. Skin patch test: Allergens applied to adhesive patches are placed on the skin. The patches are reviewed after the 48th and 96th hour of placing them. Swimming and other activities that generate a lot of perspiration should be avoided during this period. When you return to the doctor's office, the patches are removed. The patch location may be irritated, which could indicate an allergy.

Allergy tests FAQs

  1. Does it hurt when the allergy test is done?

The majority of individuals do not find the tests to be extremely unpleasant, although it can be a bit uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is a highly safe procedure.

  1. Can allergies be detected via a blood test?

Blood tests are the most effective way to detect allergies. Particular allergens are added to the blood, and the level of antibodies produced by your immune system is evaluated. If large amounts of antibodies are produced for a particular allergen, you are likely to be allergic to the substance.

  1. Will I feel sick after doing an allergy test?

The commonly known side effect is the test site's redness, swelling or itching.

Most symptoms are temporary and will resolve within a few hours after the test. However, if the allergic reaction remains beyond the expected hours, expert medical help is needed.

  1. What are the most common types of allergens?
    • Tree and grass pollen
    • Animal fur
    • Food like fruit, nuts, shellfish, eggs
    • Insect bites and stings
    • Medications (certain antibiotics)
    • Latex
    • Household chemicals like hair dyes and detergents

 

  1. Am I allowed to eat before an allergy test?

Yes, you can have regular food before an allergy test. However, it is better to refrain from any food items that have caused an allergy in the past or those you suspect to have an allergy from.

  1. How do I know if I need an allergy test?

The test can be taken by anyone. However, an allergy test is highly recommended if you consistently have any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Make an appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

Allergy tests are highly beneficial for finding the substance that causes an adverse reaction in your body. While some people have mild allergies, others can even have a life-threatening reaction. Therefore, knowing the exact substances you are allergic to is advisable to stay safe.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment with the Allergy and Immunology specialists at Gleneagles Hospital for more information on allergy tests.

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2 July 2021). “Allergy Testing.” Available at https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/21495-allergy-testing. [Accessed 28 Mar 2022]
  2. Krans, Brian. (21 Dec. 2021). “Allergy Testing: Types, Risks, and Next Steps.” Available at https://www.healthline.com/health/allergy-testing. [Accessed 28 Mar 2022]
  3. Mayo Clinic. (4 Aug. 2020). “Allergies.” Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351503. [Accessed 28 Mar 2022]
  4. Mayo Clinic. (6 Jan. 2022). “Allergy Skin Tests.” Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/allergy-tests/about/pac-20392895. [Accessed 28 Mar 2022]
  5. National Health Service (NHS). (n.d.). “Allergies.” Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergies/diagnosis. [Accessed 28 Mar 2022]

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