Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Allergies Can Now Be Diagnosed With A Simple Blood Test

Do you think you have allergies? Do you have dark circles under your eyes, itchy rashes, or feel like you have a cold? If you do, you are not alone. More than 9 million Canadians suffer from some form of allergy.
Allergic reactions can mimic cold and flu symptoms so it is easy for people to mistake one condition for the other. To determine if you have allergies your doctor will often use skin tests or a new blood test called UniCAP" allergy test.
What is the Difference Between a Skin Test and the New Blood Test?
For a skin test, the doctor uses a needle to prick the skin through a drop of a solution of each suspected allergen. If a raised welt (weal or hive) appears occurs then this indicates sensitivity to that allergen.
However, the skin test is not appropriate if you have an allergic skin disease and is not as effective in infants and in older people. The results may also be affected by medication.
In contrast, the UniCAP" allergy blood test is simple. It requires about small sample of blood (about one teaspoon). The test is performed in the lab by a medical technologist. The test can identify allergies to more than 500 different allergens and is not affected by medications.
"The new blood test offers Canadians an easy and less painful alternative to identifying allergic symptoms, " says Dr. Brian Sheridan, Vice President of Medical Affairs for MDS Laboratory Services. "MDS technologists are specifically trained to perform thousands of different types of laboratory tests including the serum test for allergies. This test is 90% accurate and seems to be particularly useful in identifying food allergens."
If you think you may allergies, talk to your doctor. For more information visit