Allergies are a common condition affecting millions of people around the world. If you have an allergic reaction, your immune system considers substances such as pollen, pet dander or dust a threat and creates antibodies to fight them off. If you live in Arizona, you probably are familiar with the most frequent Phoenix allergies caused by pollen, dust and pollution.
Allergy blood testing is one of the methods used to determine what causes your symptoms and help allergy doctors choose the best treatment for you. Read below to find out more about allergy blood tests and how they work.
What is an allergy blood test and how does it work?
Antibodies are proteins produced by your immune system to protect you from viruses or bacteria. If you have an allergy, your body produces a substance called IgE in response to the allergen.
An allergy blood (or immunoassay) test measures the level of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies- if there are increased levels of it in your blood, it means that you have an allergy. Common allergens detected include food, latex, insect bites, mold, pet dander or pollen.
Types of allergy blood tests
When it comes to allergy blood tests, there are two general ones:
A total IgE test – is used to measure the total amount of IgE antibodies in your blood.
A specific IgE test – this type of test is used to measure how much IgE your body makes in response to a single allergen and each allergen is tested separately.
If the results from either type of test result in high levels of IgE, your doctor might refer you to a board-certified allergy specialist who can set up the right treatment plan for you, depending on your symptoms and test results.
What happens during an allergy blood test?
During an allergy blood test, a physician will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm. The collected blood will then be inserted into a test tube or vial. The whole procedure usually takes place in your doctor’s office or a lab and it can take up to a few minutes.
If you develop any allergy symptoms, consult your health provider who can recommend an allergy blood test. This will check your blood for certain antibodies developed, determine the allergen that causes the allergic reaction and help your doctor come up with the best treatment plan for you.