Allergy Testing

 Allergy Testing is based on the medical scientific principle of exposure of a range of different allergens (allergy triggers) to your immune system using a pinprick method.  
  • The Allergy Consultation and procedure is carried out by  Dr.Seamus O’Beirn  who has over twenty years experience in this area. The consultation will take approximately 45 minutes.
  • This Allergy Testing method is the only objective evidence based procedure of accurate allergy investigation.
  • A range of 30-40 allergens are scientifically tested and tailored to the individual.
  • Allergens that may be tested are as follows.

              Pollen, House Dust, House Dust Mite, and all common food stuffs

              that the patient is exposed to in day to day life.

  • Results are immediate.
  • This Allergy Test can be carried out on all age groups, however younger children (under 6 years) may vary in how they tolerate the procedure. Thus, discussion with one of our doctors, prior to booking,  is advised .

 

 

It can be especially helpful in both the assessment and treatment of the following:

Asthma

Bowel and Stomach Problems ( diarrhoea)

Food Allergy

Sinus Problems/ Headaches

Hay fever (rhinitis)

Asthma

Urticaria – Rashes/skin problems

Identifying causes of anaphylaxis

 

 

 

THE APPOINTMENT

The consultation will begin by taking a comprehensive allergy history .

Your doctor will then perform skin prick testing to a series of allergens  (allergy triggers) chosen for you from your specific  history.

This is a targeted approach as opposed to testing a battery of allergens which will more often than not yield false positive results.

The skin prick test is preferentially performed on your forearms but may also be performed on other areas  of skin if required.

The doctor will go through the results with you, and give you appropriate advice on allergen avoidance and commence treatment where necessary.

The Allergy Testing consultation is a 45 minute appointment which is available Monday to Friday 2pm -5pm depending on availability. Please contact our reception staff to arrange an appointment.

Further information : check out Irish food allergy Network at : www.ifan.ie

 

The skin prick test – How does it work?

  • A series of allergens will be chosen for you from your history.
  • The inner aspect of your forearm is cleaned with an alcohol wipe.
  • Then a drop of the allergen will be placed in the corresponding area.
  • A tiny lancet will prick the skin and introduce the allergen just under the skin, although slightly unpleasant it is a very small pin prick and is very bearable.
  • Two controls are also used to validate the test, a positive control which is histamine – we expect to see a reaction at this site, and a negative control which is saline – we don’t expect to see a reaction at this site.
  • The reactions we see are called wheal ( hive ) and flare ( redness), these are produced due to the local action of histamine which is released in an allergic reaction. If a wheal and flare reaction occurs at one of the sites of the chosen allergens and the measurement of the reaction is greater than 3mm then it is a positive reaction.
  • The skin prick test takes 10 – 15 minutes to develop and you will be able to see the result yourself.

 

Is there anything I need to do prior to the test ?

  • All antihistamines should be stopped at least 72 hours prior to the test.
  • Topical steroids and oral steroids should not be used  for 1 week prior to testing.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, eg. Amitriptylines are a specific type of antidepressant medication which may alter test results. Please inform your doctor prior to testing.
  • If you are feeling unwell on the day prior to the test or the day of the test it is advisable to reschedule.
  • Prior to testing please try not to use any creams on the skin where the test will be performed.

 

Food Allergy :

It is estimated that 7% of children and 4% of adults have a food allergy.

Food allergy can occur to many foods and can range in severity from minor irritation to severe life threatening anaphylaxis.

Common foods allergies are found to  milk, egg, wheat, fish, shellfish, nuts, sesame, soya and many more.

Food allergy occurs when a susceptible person develops antibodies (mounts a reaction) to a protein in the food. These proteins are called allergens. When the person encounters the allergen again their body mounts an immune reaction to the allergen and thus an allergic reaction occurs. The allergic reaction often occurs within the first hour of exposure but delayed reactions may also occur.

Food intolerance is often confused with food allergy. Food intolerance is very different to food allergy as there is no immune reaction.

Food Intolerance:                                                                                                                                                    It is estimated that 20 % of people report an  intolerance to certain foods.                     

Symptoms of food intolerance tend to be less severe than those of food allergy.                                                                            

They often occur hours to days after the food is consumed.                                                                               

Food intolerance is thought to have an association with some cases of irritable bowel syndrome.     

Milk and wheat are the foods most commonly reported in food intolerance.                                                              

If milk intolerance is present the body is lacking an enzyme which helps breakdown lactose.                     

There are currently no reliable reproducible tests to diagnose food intolerance apart from lactose intolerance.

What can be done ?

Firstly allergy testing should be arranged enabling us to diagnose the presence of a true food allergy. Your doctor will discuss the next step with regard to appropriate avoidance strategies of an identified food allergen. If no food allergy is identified a food intolerance may be suspected. Any suspected trigger of the food intolerance should be eliminated within a trial period of 4-6 weeks with any change in symptoms documented. Assessment of results and appropriate management will be discussed in full by your doctor.