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Allergy Tests

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Allergy blood tests examine how your body reacts to substances that can cause allergies, such as food, pollen, animal dander, dust, and latex. With Homed-IQ’s allergy self-tests, this test can be performed from home. These tests measure antibodies specific to potential allergens in the blood, which provide information about a possible allergy.

What is an allergy? – Understanding allergies

Allergies are immune system reactions triggered by normally harmless substances in the environment. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, pet dander, certain foods, and insect venom. In Europe, about 60 million people are affected by allergies, with approximately 25-30% of people in the Netherlands having an allergy. This prevalence includes a range of allergic conditions such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis), asthma, food allergies, and skin allergies.

Allergies happen when our body’s defence system, also known as the immune system, overreacts to things that are usually harmless. When someone with allergies comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system mistakenly thinks it’s dangerous and tries to protect the body by releasing chemicals such as histamine. This release of these chemicals can cause symptoms including sneezing, itching, watery eyes, runny nose, coughing, or skin rashes. In more severe cases, allergies can lead to difficulty breathing or a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Sensitisation and Allergies 

The process of developing an allergy begins with an initial sensitisation phase. During this phase, the immune system is exposed to an allergen for the first time. In response, the immune system produces specific antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) that are designed to recognise and defend against the allergen. This sensitisation phase may not produce noticeable symptoms initially. However, subsequent encounters with the same allergen can trigger the immune system to release chemicals such as histamine, resulting in a range of allergic symptoms.

Allergy testing at home

Using Homed-IQ’s allergy tests you can test your body’s IgE reaction to different common allergens from the comfort of home. The test process involves taking a small blood sample from a finger prick before sending it to a specialised laboratory for analysis. The laboratory analyses the amount of specific IgE antibodies in your blood produced in response to each substance, showing whether you are sensitised to the allergens tested and, if so, to what extent.

Please note that sensitisation does not yet represent a confirmed allergy diagnosis. A final diagnosis can only be made by a specialist if allergic symptoms occur in response to coming into contact with the potential allergen. However, the results of all Homed-IQ tests provide additional recommendations on living with allergies, such as how to reduce exposure to house dust or how to deal with allergies to food, such as wheat.

Types of allergy tests

There are several methods of testing for allergies. A common method of testing for allergies is skin prick tests, a process in which allergens are lightly scratched under the skin. If an allergic reaction appears at the prick sites, this indicates an allergy. Skin prick testing and other test methods that involve direct contact with a potential allergen should only be conducted under the supervision of a healthcare professional, as the severity of allergic reactions can vary and there is a risk of anaphylaxis. 

Sensitisation and allergies can also be detected through blood tests. The advantage of blood testing for allergies is that they are fast, test a wide variety of allergens, and carry no risk of severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. Blood tests for allergies can be conducted either in a doctor’s office or from home using Homed-IQ’s self-tests. Using a finger-prick blood sample, Homed-IQ’s certified laboratory examines the quantity of IgE antibodies produced in response to different potential allergens. It is important to note that, as already mentioned, sensitisation alone does not mean you have an allergy. Allergies can only be diagnosed when allergic symptoms occur after contact with the allergen. To confirm an allergy diagnosis, follow up with your health care provider with your test results. They may arrange additional testing (such as skin prick tests) under medical supervision.

Homed-IQ’s allergy tests are a convenient and comprehensive way to investigate possible allergies from the comfort of your own home. The test results provide you with an indication of potential allergies that can be used for follow-up with an allergy specialist and to address the source of potential symptoms. Do you have questions about Homed-IQ’s allergy tests? Our customer service will be happy to help you!