When you start the process of an allergy test, you’ll be pleased to know that you can choose from several great options instead of simply going with one option regardless of whether it’s right for you or not. With that knowledge also comes the responsibility of learning about the different kinds of allergy tests. Let’s take a look at how blood, hair, and ingestion testing stand up against each other in allergy testing methods.
How is allergy testing done?
The process of allergy testing is done through medical analysis of how your body reacts to a suspected allergen. This is done through the heightened presence of the IgE antibodies and what food allergens they are responding to the most. This resting itself can be done in a few ways:
- Skin prick test: This is the classic allergy testing method that introduces a small amount of the allergen into a tiny pinprick on the skin. If the antibodies are present, a welt or bump will rise up and indicate that you have an allergy.
- Blood sample test: This is often the most-trusted method of allergy testing. Using small finger pricks of blood, you’ll be able to send your blood sample to a lab that will use these blood samples to test them against all sorts of potential allergens, noting which ones give the highest readings of the IgE antibodies.
- Oral test: Another allergy test is when you are fed varying levels of the allergen in a medical setting, and your physical reaction (visually and through monitors and testing) are monitored throughout the process. The point is to determine just how strong the allergic reaction is and how severe it is.
Can the hair be used for allergy testing?
You’ve probably seen options for hair sample testing, leading many people to wonder if hair samples are able to be used for allergy testing. Unfortunately, an accurate allergy test result can’t be read from a hair sample, as it doesn’t involve the use of the IgE antibodies that specialists are looking for. So, hair samples can’t be used for allergy testing. However, they can be used for intolerance testing and provide just as accurate results as a blood sample test.
For those who are uncomfortable with needles and prefer the simplicity of the hair sample test, a blood sample test would still be the most comfortable, as it is just a prick of the fingertip and a few tiny dots of blood on the card. It can also be done from the comfort of your own home, which adds a lot to the control of the test itself.
Allergy testing has certainly come a long way, and you can now choose from a series of options to get the right testing method for your needs. While it would be nice to think that a hair sample could be used for accurate allergy test results, this is a sample best used for an intolerance test. However, you still have plenty of realistic allergy test options!