NHS Service

What to Expect from an Allergy Evaluation

Food Allergy Testing - Touchwood Pharmacy

Allergies in the UK are both on the rise and becoming more and more common. People living with allergies have risen by approximately 5% every year since an initial “first wave” of allergic disease around fifty years ago. As of 2012, data suggests that around 1 in 40 children are suffering from at least one serious allergy. Food allergies have, likewise, been on the rise. Consumer statistics indicate that at least 48% of consumers have at least one household member that avoids one food or ingredient due to allergies, with the 16-24 year old age group reporting the highest instances of food and ingredient avoidances at a whopping 61%.

Despite a shocking lack of allergy specialists in the UK, you can, in fact, receive an allergy evaluation to discover what your specific allergies are. You do not have to experience severe anaphylaxis to be allergic to something and allergy symptoms vary from person to person.  The most common food allergy reaction is called an IgE-mediated allergy and includes symptoms such as:

  • tingling/itchy mouth
  • Itchy red rash/hives with or without raised bumps
  • Hay fever symptoms (runny eyes/nose etc)
  • Nausea, dizziness, abdominal cramps, digestive issue (individually or separately)
  • Swelling (face, mouth or anywhere else)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath/wheezing

Anaphylaxis is certainly possible and you must seek medical attention immediately if you are faced with these severe reactions. Anaphylaxis includes a swollen tongue; tight chest; difficulty swallowing, speaking and breathing; dizziness or faintness; collapsing.

How to Detect Allergies:

Various allergy evaluations can be performed to detect and determine allergies to food and your level of allergy to them.  

  • Skin prick test:  a drop of liquid containing an allergen is placed on the skin, then that area of the skin is gently pricked with a needle. If you are allergic, an itchy red bump will appear relatively soon.

  • Blood test: blood is drawn from your vein and then is checked to see if your body has created antibodies in response to certain allergens.

  • Patch test:  generally used to diagnose contact dermatitis (skin related allergy). A small disc with an allergen is taped to your skin for 48 hours to see if your skin develops a rash.  

You can also purchase a home allergy testing kit to explore your suspicions, which can be considered a first step in taking action. You should always consult a medical professional for further exploration of serious allergies where you can benefit from a medical discussion on ways to relieve your allergies.  

Touchwood Pharmacy offers all of your necessary allergy tests and can consult with you on over the counter remedies to relieve minor symptoms for your consideration whilst you await test results and over the course of your exploration. Book online with Touchwood Pharmacy today for your food allergy testing in Hanwell, Bromley, Walsall, or Northampton.  www.touchwoodpharmacy.com