When all your usual remedies fail and the doctor is baffled by your symptoms, you may suspect you or your child has an allergy. It’s often difficult to find a specialist in allergies who can help, but there are now a number of home tests, as accurate as a hospital test, that you can do at home. These are particularly useful for children as they can be administered by Mum or Dad in familiar surroundings.
Make sure that the Home Test Kit you buy detects raised levels (or not) of the IgE antibody as these are the same as the tests used in hospitals and are reliable and accurate.
The most common allergens are dustmites, animal dander, mould spores, pollen from grasses, weeds and trees and foods that contain egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
The allergy is caused by the immune system producing raised levels of an antibody called imunoglobin E (IgE) when an allergen enters the body by being breathed in, swallowed, or by contact with the skin.
So the main reason for testing for allergies is firstly to find out if the symptoms are actually due to an allergic response. Start with the General Allergy Check and if that shows positive you can go on to test for allergy to Egg, Milk, Pollen, Cats or Dustmites. There is no need to send anything away to a laboratory and you get the results in 30 minutes.
The home tests for specific allergies is fine for adults and children of any age, but the General Allergy Check is not suitable for children under 6.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of allergy can include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, shortness of breath, itching, rashes, urticaria (hives), sickness, tummy cramps, bloating and other abdominal or digestive problems. Symptoms of the most common allergies in children are:
- Egg allergy: This is one of the most common food allergies in children. Symptoms may include; itching, swelling lips and face, coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing, asthma, dry, itchy throat and tongue, itchy skin, rashes and eczema, diarrhoea, vomiting, headache or even anaphylaxis. You can test yourself or your child for Egg Allergy here.
- Milk allergy: Sensitivity to cow’s milk is one of the most common food allergies in children but can affect people of all ages. Milk allergy symptoms may include; itching, swelling lips and face, coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing, asthma, dry, itchy throat and tongue, itchy skin, rashes and eczema, diarrhea, vomiting, headache or even anaphylaxis. You can test yourself or your child for Milk Allergy here.
- Cat allergy: If you suffer from allergy symptoms and these seem to get worse after contact with a cat or after you have entered a room where a cat is or has been present, even years ago, then you may have a cat allergy. Symptoms might include, but are not limited to, asthma leading to cough, wheezing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. You may also experience rashes and eczema. You can test yourself or your child for Cat Allergy here.
- Dustmite allergy: Dustmites are the second most common airborne allergen after pollen. Symptoms may include itching, swelling lips and face, coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing, asthma, dry, itchy throat and tongue, itchy skin, rashes and eczema, diarrhoea, vomiting, headache or anaphylaxis. You can test yourself or your child for Dustmite Allergy here.
- Pollen allergy: The types of pollen that most commonly cause allergic reactions are produced by the plain-looking plants (trees, grasses, and weeds) that do not have showy flowers. These plants make small, light, dry pollen granules that are caried in the air. Allergic reactions include sneezing, swollen eyes, blocked and painful sinuses and an increase in asthma symptoms. Although the majority of people are allergic to grass pollen, tree pollens (starting in February) and weed pollens (Sept – October), are also highly allergenic. You can test yourself or your child for Pollen Allergy here.
- 3-in-1 test for Airborne allergies: Between 90 and 95% of all allergy symptoms (sneezing , runny nose, itchy eyes and ears, severe wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, sinus problems) are caused by an allergic reaction to one or more of the three most common airborne allergens – cat, dustmite and grass pollen.
You can test for all three with an economical 3-in-1 Airborne Allergy Check. A single finger prick test will show if you are positive to one or more of these allergens. You can test yourself or your child for all three – cat, dustmite and grass pollen allergy – in one simple test here.
If the result of your blood prick test is negative, then something else is causing the symptoms and allergy can be ruled out.
If the tests are positive your doctor will tell you how to avoid the allergens and how to treat the symptoms of an attack. You may be given steroids or emollients for the skin, antihistamines to dampen down symptoms or be advised to cover your child’s mattress and pillow with anti-allergy covers made to keep dustmites out.
You can also use a quick and reliable test for the antibody IgA that indicates intolerance of wheat and gluten, symptomatic of Coeliac Disease. This condition is often misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You can test yourself or your child for Gluten Intolerance here.