Almost everyone is allergic to something. Many symptoms of allergy may not be bothersome and can be easily addressed by over-the-counter medications, hence one does not have to take a trip to the doctor’s clinic for further intervention.
However, if you have been suffering from an allergic reaction and nothing works to clear away the symptoms, you may want to consider allergy testing. Is it worth it?
Find out more in this article including info about allergy testing costs in Singapore.
What is Allergy Testing?
Allergy testing determines the type/s of allergens that trigger allergic reactions in the body’s immune system. Allergy tests may also help identify intolerance.
For people who are diagnosed with asthma, allergy testing is helpful in finding allergens that can make symptoms of asthma worse or cause an attack. Allergy testing is also highly recommended for people who have anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.
How do you know if you have an allergy?
There are various symptoms of allergy, such as:
- Falling ill
- Itchy eyes, nose, or skin
- Pain around the area of the cheeks, eyes or forehead
- Runny nose
- Swelling in the eyes, lips, mouth, or throat
- Watery eyes
What are the most common things that cause allergy symptoms?
Allergy symptoms can come in various forms. These are the most common:
- Certain medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Dust mites
- Food, such as crustaceans and nuts
- Insect venom, such as from bees or wasp stings
- Metals, such as nickel
- Pet dander
What should you do if you suspect that you have an allergy?
Allergy symptoms vary and some symptoms may occur immediately or sometime after contact with the allergen.
Allergic reaction to food usually happens between 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming food or beverage that contains an allergen.
Skin allergy symptoms may occur instantly as soon as an allergen comes in contact with the skin. Likewise, being airborne can trigger symptoms immediately.
Allergic reactions to several triggers may happen all at once and can be mild to severe. Initial exposure to an allergen may be mild, but recurring exposure to allergens can worsen the allergies over time.
If you suspect that you are allergic to one or more substances, it is highly recommended to undergo skin testing in order to accurately identify the things that you should avoid.
What are the common types of allergy testing available in Singapore?
The IgE RAST Test and skin prick test are the two most common types of allergy testing used in Singapore.
IgE RAST Test is a blood test performed by healthcare providers. This test determines the presence of antibodies in the blood that may be triggered by an allergen.
The test is done by drawing a blood sample from the patient and sending it to a laboratory to measure the levels of antibodies in the blood. If antibodies are found in the blood, it signifies that the body is fighting substances that are harmful.
IgE RAST test is an alternative method for allergy testing when skin testing is unavailable or impossible to do.
A false-positive rate result is higher in this type of allergy testing. A false-positive result means the results of the tests come out positive despite the patient not being allergic to a substance in reality.
Skin Test is done by placing a tiny amount of potential allergens on the back or forearm’s skin.
To apply, the healthcare provider uses a thin needle to scratch the surface of the skin and allow the substance to penetrate the target area.
Once the liquid has entered the skin, it will take about 15 minutes for the symptoms to show. An allergic reaction to the allergen applied will make the skin develop a rash or round spots.
Which allergy testing method should I go for?
The IgE RAST test method is usually recommended for:
- Patients who are suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema
- Patients who are under medications that may affect the results of a skin prick test
- Patients have a higher risk of developing severe allergic reactions when exposed to allergens administered through the skin prick test.
The Skin Prick Test method is safe and can be performed on patients older than 6 months of age.
How long does it take to complete an allergy test?
The duration of an allergy test depends on what type of test you are taking.
The IgE RAST test is quicker as you get to step out of the doctor's clinic as soon as the blood sample has been collected by your healthcare provider.
It will take some time for the results to be released as the blood samples will need to be processed by a laboratory.
A skin test may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour as the results are observed in real-time as each allergen is introduced to the skin.
Do I need to prepare for an allergy test?
Your healthcare provider should give you instructions on how to prepare for your allergy test. In general, these are the things that patients are asked to do:
- Avoid taking medications that contain antihistamines for 7 days prior to your scheduled allergy test appointment
- Avoid overexposure to the sun, especially when you are scheduled for a skin prick test. Having sunburn will add to the discomfort of a skin prick test and will also make it challenging for your doctor to observe and give accurate results.
- Eat before your scheduled test. The test may take a while to finish, so be sure that you do not come to your appointment hungry. Also, it is important to be sure that you do not eat any food that triggered an allergic reaction in the past.
How much do allergy tests cost in Singapore?
Single allergy tests for allergens like animal dander, food, dust, mites, and mold range from $65 to $150. Comprehensive allergy panel blood tests range from $680 to $3,500.
Are allergy tests covered by health insurance?
The cost of allergy tests may or may not be covered by health insurance. It is advisable that you check first with your insurance provider before undergoing an allergy test.
Can allergy test costs be reimbursed through Medisave?
Unfortunately, costs for allergy tests are not reimbursable through Medisave.
The Health Advisory Clinic
One Raffles Place, #04-49
1 Raffles Place, Singapore
Tel: (+65) 6226 6442
Whatsapp: (+65) 9886 6442