Misinformation is one of the factors that cause people not to undergo medical tests or treatments. It is important to confirm whether a hearsay about anything health or medical related is true or not. When it comes to allergies and allergy testing, it is critical that we only consult with the experts as some allergy symptoms can be dangerous and even fatal when left undiagnosed and untreated. In this article, we are debunking myths that have been spread about allergies and sharing information about allergy testing in Singapore.
Myths about allergies
1 Allergy: it’s all in the mind.
Fact: While the mind is powerful in controlling a lot of things in the body, it does not have any any say over what the immune system can be allergic to. Allergic reactions cannot be cured by training the mind to eliminate and not react to an allergen. Therefore, it is crucial that allergies be treated with urgency and the right outlook as they can make a person’s life insufferable.
2 Allergic reactions get worse every time you are exposed to an allergen.
Fact: The body’s reaction to an allergen cannot be predicted. You may be exposed to a small amount allergen one time and experience a severe allergic reaction, then encounter the same allergen in another setting, but only have mild symptoms. There is no way to tell how exactly your allergies can surface, so it is always better to be alert and avoid your known triggers at all costs.
3 Allergies subside as we grow old.
Fact: Some people outgrow their childhood allergies, while others carry them into adulthood. This is especially true for those who have food allergies, specifically to seafood and nuts. Allergies caused by dust mites, pets, and pollen remain in most adults.
4 Allergies can be cured by exposing yourself constantly to your triggers.
Fact: Exposing yourself to substances that trigger allergic reactions is not a wise idea. In fact, this often worsens a person’s condition and can place them at risk of losing their life if the allergic reaction escalates to a condition called anaphylaxis. While some people can develop tolerance with allergen exposure overtime, this is not the case with everyone. Chronic allergic inflammation is most likely to happen, which further compromises the body’s health and lead to other medical conditions.
5 Allergy symptoms only manifest on the skin.
Fact: Depending on the type of allergen, your body’s allergic reaction can afflict not only the skin, but also the airways, nasal passages, sinuses, and the digestive system. The symptoms may either be any of the following that can manifest simultaneously:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Feeling of tightness in the chest
- Flaking or peeling of skin
- Hives or rash
- Itchy nose and eyes
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Scratchy throat
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen eyes, face, lips, throat, or tongue
Myths about allergy testing
1 Allergy testing can be done by anyone.
Fact: There is a saying that goes, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” When it comes to allergy testing, this statement is apt. This is a question that doctors get quite a lot, merely because DIY allergy testing kits are now available at pharmacies. Yes you can easily obtain a home allergy testing kit, but this can be quite problematic. The test can provide you with results, but without the guidance of an allergy expert to interpret your results, there is a great chance that your allergic reactions can be misdiagnosed.
Another factor for consideration when getting an allergy test is finding the right doctor who can perform it. Not all medical providers are trained allergists. When an untrained doctor carries out skin tests the wrong way, it can be painful and place a patient at risk. Hence, it is always recommended to consult with a board-certified allergist.
2 Allergy tests can determine the severity of your allergy.
Fact: Allergy tests can only provide the results of the substances that trigger your allergic reactions and serve as a guide when diagnosing your allergies. Test results cannot identify how severe your reactions are when exposed to allergens.
3 Allergy testing is painful.
Fact: Allergy testing using the skin test method involves the use of fine needle. It may be done through a skin prick test or an intradermal skin test. A skin prick test is done by pricking or scratching the skin’s surface with the needle that contains an allergen. The area of the skin where the allergen is placed may be on the back, forearm, or upper arm. An intradermal skin tests is performed by injecting a small amount of the substance into the skin. These tests are completed quickly and most patients attest that the pain felt during the procedure is very minimal, comparing the experience to getting a mosquito bite.
4 Allergy testing is not recommended for very young children and babies.
Fact: There are many ways to conduct allergy testing and there are definitely safe ways to do so for young children and even babies! The best way to determine which test is appropriate for little ones is to consult with an a board-certified allergist that has undergone training in pediatrics.
5 Allergy testing only leads to immunotherapy.
Fact: As previously mentioned, the results of allergy testing only serve as a guide as to what a person is allergic to. The test itself does not determine which type of treatment is right for each symptom that the body reacts to. Immunotherapy is only one of the many options available for treating allergies. Depending on the circumstances that surrounds the patient, the doctor may recommend other treatments, such as avoidance of allergens or taking certain medications.
When should I get an allergy test?
If you have been bothered by allergy symptoms everytime you are exposed to certain substances and your quality of life is already being affected, then it is time that you consider undergoing allergy testing. There are many types of allergens in the environment that can cause your allergic reaction and the only way to identify them accurately is through an allergy test. Once the results are out and interpreted by a certified allergist, you can start to make lifestyle changes that can help you avoid allergies.
The Health Advisory Clinic
One Raffles Place, #04-49
1 Raffles Place, Singapore
Tel: (+65) 6226 6442
Whatsapp: (+65) 9886 6442