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Blood Testing for Allergies, Explained

Brought to you by ThermoFisher Scientific

Blood Testing: Get Answers to Allergy Without the Anxiety

An allergy blood test, or specific IgE test, measures the concentration of specific IgE antibodies in the blood. These antibodies help determine if you are allergic, and to what. The results of your blood test, together with your detailed medical history and a physical examination, will also help your healthcare provider develop a customized treatment plan that's right for you.
 

Not sure of your symptoms?

Create and share your personalized assessment with the interactive My Symptom Profile tool

BENEFITS OF BLOOD TESTING

Unlike skin-prick testing, there's no risk that a blood test will trigger an allergic reaction. This is especially important if you or your child are at a higher risk for a life-threatening, anaphylactic reaction. And for infants and young children, a single needle prick for a blood sample may be less traumatic than the repeated scratching of a skin-prick test.

A blood test may also help your healthcare provider discover hidden risks, such as allergic reactions caused by cross-reactivity.

There are many benefits to getting a specific IgE test:

Reliable

Consistently gives accurate results

Easy and Accessible

A blood test is quick and
simple and anyone at any age
can have a blood test

Wide range

Can measure hundreds of allergens with a single blood sample

Detailed

Detects various levels of allergen sensitization


There Are Two Types of Specific IgE Blood Tests:

Whole allergen blood tests

can identify allergic triggers and help rule allergy in or out.1-3

Allergen component tests

can pinpoint the allergenic proteins that may be causing your allergy symptoms.4


Read on to learn more about each type.

Whole Allergen Testing

Specific IgE testing for whole allergens is used to help confirm a suspected allergy, to determine the cause of your reactions, or to rule out an allergy altogether.
 

Allergen component Testing

Specific IgE testing for allergen components helps to identify the specific proteins that may cause your reactions. So instead of just knowing that you're allergic to peanuts, you can know exactly which protein within the peanut triggers your reaction. And knowing the specific protein you’re allergic to can help your healthcare provider determine if you may be at risk for a more severe, systemic reaction or a mild, localized reaction. 

Allergen components may help:

  1. Assess risk for systemic reactions
  2. Explain symptoms due to cross-reactivity
  3. Improve diagnostic accuracy

Specific Components:
Help Diagnose Your Source of Food Allergy

A positive or negative specific IgE result for allergen components, along with your medical history, can give your healthcare provider important information for developing your personalized management plan. Certain components, or proteins, are associated with a higher risk of severe or systemic reaction than others. IgE levels for allergen components help estimate your level of risk for reaction by identifying the proteins to which you may react.

This deeper understanding of your risk of reaction could change the way your food allergy is managed. For example, a positive IgE test result to certain peanut proteins indicates that you are at risk for a systemic reaction (anaphylaxis) if peanuts are consumed. And a negative IgE test result to certain milk proteins indicates that a milk-allergic child may not react to milk if baked, e.g., in cake or cookies.

Specific Components:
Help Take the Guesswork Out of Animal Allergy

By pinpointing the specific proteins that may be causing your symptoms, allergen components provide a more accurate assessment of your animal or pet dander allergy. A positive or negative IgE test result to allergen components, along with your medical history, can give your healthcare provider important information for developing your personalized management plan.

This deeper understanding could change the way your animal allergy is managed. For example, testing with allergen components can help differentiate between reactions that are caused by a specific species, like cats, and reactions caused by cross-reactive components. This information could impact your decision to get or keep a pet.

Cross-Reactivity: Improve the Diagnosis

Cross-reactivity occurs when the proteins in one substance (e.g., pollen) are similar to the proteins in another (e.g., fruit and vegetables).  When you come into contact with either, whether or not it’s a protein in something that you are truly allergic to, your immune system can react in the same way, which then causes your allergic symptoms.

Specific IgE testing for allergen components can help your healthcare provider identify the proteins that may be causing your reactions, which can make allergy management easier. 

Am I Allergic?


Consult with your Healthcare Provider Today

By revealing your precise allergies, and testing what proteins you are sensitized to, blood testing may be able to help confirm your triggers and help optimize your allergy management.

Not sure of your symptoms? Create and share your personalized assessment with the interactive My Symptom Profile tool.

References

 

  1. Adapted from Duran-Tauleria E, Vignati G, Guedan MJ, et al. The utility of specific immunoglobulin E measurements in primary car. Allergy. 2004;59 Suppl 78:35-41.
  2. Adapted from Niggemann B, von Berg A, Bollrath C, et al. Safety and efficacy of a new extensively hydrolyzed formula for infants with cow’s milk protein. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2008;19:325-31.
  3. Eigenmann PA, Atanaskovic-Markovic M O’B Hourihane J, et al. Testing children for allergies: why, how, who and when; an updated statement of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) Section of Pediatrics and the EAACI-Clemens von Pirquet Foundation. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2013;24:195-209.
  4. Canonica GW, Ansotegui I, Pawankar R, et al. A WAO – ARIA - GA2 LEN consensus document on molecular-based allergy diagnostics. World Allergy Organ J. 2013;6:17.