Allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases are increasing around the world, especially in industrialised countries and can affect all ages. Allergies will affect one in four of the UK population at some point in their life, with numbers increasing each year. The commonest allergy in the UK is against plant pollens and is commonly called Hay Fever.
How do I know if I have an allergy?
An allergy is the body’s response to a substance which is not necessarily harmful in itself, but results in an exaggerated immune response and a reaction that causes a variety of symptoms in a predisposed person. Allergy symptoms range from a runny nose and itchy eyes to a skin rash which in turn can cause irritation or even disability. Some people can have a very extreme allergy to certain substances (e.g. peanuts, bee stings) which in very rare cases can result in a significant reaction called anaphylactic shock, which can even be fatal.
What allergies do Preventicum test for?
It is better if you can have some idea of what you might be allergic to so we can specifically test for this. Otherwise, we have several profiles of substances which commonly cause allergies.
We can test for specific food allergies or food groups such as nuts and seeds, cereal allergies, e.g. wheat and fish and shellfish.
Since every country has their own dietary habits, there are noteworthy differences in the allergens causing food allergy. Our laboratory has created profiles for the UK, Mediterranean and the Middle East and our doctor can discuss these with you.
We also test for inhalants, antibiotics and insect allergies.
How do you test for allergies?
We use a blood test method. The common ways for testing for a true immunological allergic response are “skin prick” testing and blood testing. Skin prick testing involves injecting a small amount of test substance into the skin and then looking for a response. Dermatologists tend to use this method. Another method is to use a small blood sample and to challenge this with various substances to measure a specific immune response. The strength of the response can be quantified to assess the degree of allergic reaction. Neither method is an absolute answer as there are different types of allergy mechanisms but can be very useful for testing for a true allergy. At Preventicum we use the blood testing method and our samples are analysed at an accredited laboratory in Central London.
When will I get my results?
The turnaround time for these tests is usually 2 working days and a copy of your results will be posted to you.
Can my allergies be treated?
In some cases, certain allergies can be successfully treated, but usually the answer is to try to avoid the allergen(s) responsible, where possible. Our Preventicum doctor will also be able to discuss ways of managing your allergy. Allergy problems are normally treated by allergy specialists although their availability on the NHS is limited.
How much does allergy testing cost?
We can run a series of different allergy profiles which start from £150. Single allergens can also be tested from £45.
For more information please call the clinic on 020 7605 6900 or email@example.com