Doc has adviced me for infant allergy testing. What to do?

May 10, 2010

An allergy is the abnormally elevated level of response from the human immune system to a perceived threat to the body which, on its own, is actually not necessarily harmful to the body. The reaction occurs due to the hyper sensitive state of the immune system which causes the system to attack the cells that are perceived to have been invaded by a harmful substance. Some allergic responses are genetic while others are based on environmental factors and the history of the person's growth and what he or she has been exposed to. Some studies also suggest that allergic reactions are noted in people who have underdeveloped immunity systems due to non exposure to any form of a particular allergen.

Such conditions could then cause a sudden and violent reaction in the individual. Allergies may present themselves in the form of simple problems like a rash, itching, and general irritation in the body. Allergies can also produce violent and often life threatening reactions in an individual including constriction of airways, frothing, swelling of the mouth and tongue, rapid heartbeat and possible cardiac arrest in the most severe cases. Some allergic reactions are more severe than others and they require the person to have an emergency anti-allergy medication ready with them in case of an attack. This means that the individual must be aware of what allergies he or she is susceptible to.

Allergy testing is a useful medical tool by which a person can understand which triggers cause allergic reactions in them or in their children. Infant allergy testing is recommended to parents who themselves have a history of allergic reactions. Infant allergy testing may also be recommended for allergies that have a severe reaction and can be fatal without precautions.

There are two main methods of allergy testing in infants. Infants tend to have a developing immune system which has not reached its full strength and therefore there is a chance that allergy test results will be inaccurate particularly with plenty of false positives being detected. The two tests are a blood based test, which is the RAST test and a skin prick based test. The blood based test is difficult to perform as it may be difficult to find a vein in a baby from which to draw blood. Even the skin prick test is likely to cause discomfort to the baby. However, allergy testing is a responsible way of finding out potential problems before they become serious issues.

Submitted by M T on May 10, 2010 at 02:28

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