- Allergy testing (in contrast with intolerance testing) helps to identify if there is sensitisation to a particular protein in food or respiratory allergens.
- Intolerance tests that we do are genetic tests that detect predispositions to digestive issues with lactose (milk sugar) and gluten (protein in wheat barley and rye).
- Specialist consultants can test for a selection of allergens including food & aeroallergens (mould, pollen, pet dander, house dust mites and foods including peanut allergy, pet allergy, milk allergy).
- Consultants can also test for gluten intolerance and lactose intolerance by genetic tests when these tests are indicated.
- Your consultant will recommend how frequently allergy tests are needed.
- Usually, in children, we recommend repeating every 3-5 years, more often if the situation changes.
- Adults on average every ten years, but can be checked more frequently if needed.
- Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
- If there is difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, rapid reaction, drop in blood pressure – feeling faint after contact with an allergen, light-headedness, confusion, blue skin or lips, collapsing and losing consciousness Anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment and call for help from emergency services.
- The ImmunoCAP ISAC Specific IgE blood test is the most comprehensive method of screening, enabling detection of specific antibodies (sIgE) to 112 allergenic components in one test, including airborne allergens, food and stinging insect venoms.
- The test requires a tiny amount of blood from either a finger prick (which can be collected at home) or from a vein (collected in a hospital or laboratory)
- We do this test remotely, enabling patients throughout the UK to send samples in a special container straight to the testing laboratory. Our specialist allergy consultants offer a full interpretation of the results, for both adult and paediatric patients.
Any age. Self-collection from six, under six requires a sample from a healthcare professional.
The usual criteria for doing allergy tests are in regard to food, and include:
- a history of rashes
- feeling sick
- diarrhoea within minutes up to 24 hours after eating food, with or without doing exercise
- exposure to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin etc)
- the heat of sunshine
- alcohol or combination of those factors above
For hay fever sufferers or asthma sufferers (wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough) – respiratory problems on exposure to allergens or seasonal allergies.
Problems with eyes, including:
- itchy, red
- watering eyes (conjunctivitis)and nose as well as
- scratchy throat and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
For intolerance tests (different from allergy tests):
- abdominal dilatation after eating wheat, barley or rye (pasta, beer lager etc) for adults and children
- screening for coeliac disease/gluten intolerance, or milk products containing lactose – (adult type of lactose intolerance) test for lactose intolerance.
We do not usually recommend allergy test in case of recurrent spontaneous rashes (not linked with consumption of food) spontaneous urticaria – raised, itchy, red rash (hives), as well as spontaneous swellings swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face, tummy pain (we advise to book an appointment with allergy consultant and seek advice and treatment, different types of tests will be recommended).
If you get dry, red and cracked skin eczema or dermatitis especially around your mouth or eyes we also recommend to see a consultant as other types of tests that are only done in the clinic might be required.
The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with an allergen.
For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you have a skin allergy, or feel sick, get lips or tongue swelling if you eat something you’re allergic to. In case of severe reaction, you need to seek immediate medical attention and book your appointment or do allergy tests when you get better.
- You can have a home test kit sent to you by completing our questionnaire.
Yes. Very safe.
No, but it involves taking a blood sample from a finger prick.
There are none, tests are very safe and do not cause any problems.
Finger prick tests are not suitable for children under 6. A sample would need to be taken by a healthcare professional for younger children.
- Your personal test report will be ready up to 2 weeks after you send the sample back to the laboratory.
- The results will be reviewed by one of our specialist allergy consultants in conjunction with your questionnaire answers.
Yes. Very safe.
- Finger prick collection is not suitable for small children, toddlers and babies.
- In these cases, the sample from the child needs to be taken by a trained healthcare professional (our lab can provide the necessary materials on request if you are located at a distance from London), or in London you can attend the lab with our form where the sample will be collected Monday to Friday, 7am-7pm and Saturday 9am-5pm.