Do I need an Allergy Test?

Allergies and intolerances are highly common and it is thought that around 2% of the population will suffer from a serious allergy at some point. If you're suffering from an unknown Allergen then having an Allergy Screening can go a long way to helping you recognise and diagnose the problem.

 

Allergy Screening Infographic

 

Allergies affect the lives of thousands of people every year in the UK; an allergy is a reaction the body has to a particular food or substance. The charity Allergy UK estimates that 33% of the population will visit their doctor or pharmacist at some point in life because of an allergy.

Each year the numbers increase by approximately 5%, with as many as half of all those affected being children. Some allergies go away as a child gets older, however many allergies are lifelong. Some adults can develop allergies to things they weren’t previously allergic to.

Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect your everyday activities, but most allergic reactions are mild and can be largely kept under control. However, severe reactions can occasionally occur and these can be life threatening.


Typical Allergens
Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens, while it’s possible to be allergic to almost anything, some of the most common allergens include:

  • Grass and tree pollen
     
  • Dust mites
     
  • Animal dander
     
  • Mould
     
  • Food, especially shellfish, eggs, cow’s milk, nuts and fruit
     
  • Insect bites and stings
     
  • Some medicines such as antibiotics
     
  • Latex
     
  • Some household chemicals including those in detergents and hair dyes.


Most of these allergens are generally harmless to people who aren’t allergic to them.


General Allergy Symptoms
Allergic reactions usually happen very quickly, often within a few minutes of being exposed to an allergen. Symptoms can vary depending on the allergen in question, however general symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
     
  • A runny or blocked nose
     
  • Red, itchy and watery eyes
     
  • Wheezing and coughing
     
  • An itchy rash
     
  • Worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms.


Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can occur, this is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.


Do I Have an Unknown Allergy?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above then you may be suffering from an unknown allergy.

If you are allergic to an unknown allergen then you can visit your nearest participating Alphega Pharmacy to find out more about the Allergy Screening Service we offer.

The Allergy Screening Service involves two short consultations, during which you will be offered an allergy screening. The type of allergy test you are offered will depend on the background information you provide and the symptoms you are experiencing.


My AllergyTest Results. What Next?
Once you have the results of your Allergy Screening test, the pharmacist will be able to advise you on whether you have an allergy and if so, what is most likely to be causing the symptoms you’re experiencing. From there they will be able to recommend ways to manage or reduce your symptoms and provide you with further advice or the appropriate medication to effectively manage your allergy.

Without having an Allergy Screening test it can very difficult to find exactly what is causing your symptoms; being screened for an allergy can help detect which allergen may be causing your symptoms, even if you are allergic to something that’s widely used in many different products.

Visit your local Alphega Pharmacy to find out more about allergies, allergy screening and some of the available treatments if you are suffering an allergy.

Visit our pharmacy locator and search for the Allergy Screening Icon to find your nearest participating Alphega Pharmacy store.

 
Find out more about getting an allergy test
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Allergy Screening Service