General Overview of Allergies and Allergy Testing:
Allergies affect a significant portion of the population with varied factors triggering this immuno-response. In addition, allergies can be either percutaneous, subcutaneous or general. Percutaneous reactions include rashes, reddening of the skin, bruising and so on. Subcutaneous allergies include welting, urticaria (hives), etc. General immuno-reactions are such as anaphylactic shock, a rapid and dangerous multifactor allergic reaction that includes a number of symptomatic traits such as angioedema, swelling of the tongue and throat, shortness of breath, coronary artery spasm, rashes, low blood pressure, etc. Owing to the potential severity of allergic reactions, it is wise to undertake allergy testing to get allergy testing results that could be potentially life-saving. Allergy testing in children and allergy testing is especially important if you suspect they may be allergic to something. One such allergy test is the SET or serial endpoint test.
Serial Endpoint Test or SET allergy Testing
Serial Endpoint Test or SET allergy testing is an allergy test conducted to determine which agent you are allergic to and at what concentration. This test is especially important as it determines what concentration of allergy agent affects you and to what extent. In other words, it determines your sensitivity to particular agents. For instance, some people can go into anaphylactic shock on ingestion of just a few peanuts while others may only get a mild allergic reaction. An SET test determines where you lie on this scale of severity. By exposing you to increasing concentrations (potency) of various allergy agents, the doctor is able to determine what you are allergic to and to what extent.
How the test is done:
When you come in, the test is performed as follow:
- The doctor will assemble a collection of potential allergy agents.
- They will then select a portion of your skin and expose it to a very dilute solution of the allergy agent, then measure the allergic response.
- This is repeated with increasing concentration until the doctor determines the level of sensitivity you have to different doses of the allergy agent.
- This is repeated with the other allergy agents.
Once the allergy testing procedure is complete and the doctor has your allergy testing results, the doctor will instruct you on what you can do to manage the allergy, whether it’s avoidance of the allergy agent, taking anti-allergy medication or undergoing immunotherapy.
Are there any side-effects:
SET allergy testing is a delicate procedure as the person being tested may go into anaphylactic shock when exposed to a certain allergy agent. This is why it’s important to have this test done at the clinic by a trained professional who can respond effectively in case of an emergency.
Follow-up treatments or next steps:
After the allergy test is complete, the doctor will advise you on how to manage any allergies discovered and also add these to your medical file for future reference. To manage allergies, you may need to avoid those agents (if possible), take anti-allergy medication or undergo immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy as a preventative treatment
Allergen immunotherapy also known as allergy shots, work like a vaccine. The goal of immunotherapy is to decrease sensitivity to allergens and provide lasting relief of allergy symptoms, even after treatment is stopped.When considering immunotherapy, it is best to first discuss with your physician your medical conditions, severity of your symptoms, time and cost of the treatment as well as other factors to ensure this is your best option. Food allergies are not treated with allergy shots.