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Medical/Allergy Blood Screening

Blood tests for allergies

A sample of your blood is sent to a specialist laboratory for a RAST (radioallergosorbent test) or CAP-RAST.

This measures the amount of specific immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) to inhalants and foods in your blood. IgE causes histamine to be released when you're exposed to various environmental and food allergens. The test is safer than a skin-prick test, as you're not directly exposed to the allergen.

Results are graded from grade 0 (negative) and grade 1 (weak positive) to grade 6 (strong positive), depending on the level of the allergen's specific IgE antibody in your blood. The higher the grade, the more likely it is you have an allergy to that allergen. More than 400 specific allergens can be tested for in this way.

There's a respiratory allergy screen, which tests for IgE to house dust mites, pet dander, pollens and mould spores, as well as a food allergy screening test for children, which identifies allergy to cow's milk, hen's egg, wheat, codfish, soy and peanut.

The nut screening test can identify allergy to almond, Brazil nut, hazelnut, peanut and coconut, while the seafood screen can detect allergy to various fishes, shrimp and black mussel.

Specific IgE RAST can detect other allergens including some antibiotics, latex rubber, horse hair, bee and wasp venom and practically any allergies linked to raised IgE.

RAST can't test for allergies to preservatives, food colouring and aspirin as these reactions aren't linked to IgE.

In the past, 'total IgE' was measured as an allergy indicator, but this isn't accurate as it may also be raised in parasite infections and with eczema. Total IgE may be raised in otherwise fit and healthy people with no allergies at all.

Sometimes very low levels of specific IgE are detected, which are usually 'false positive' results. The patient's medical history can help identify these.

( *Published information at www.bbc.co.uk/health)

At our clinic we will take a full medical history, including your symptoms, details of when they occur and any other relevant information.

From this medical history, we produce a short list of suspected allergens and arrange appropriate Blood tests. Once the allergy and allergens have been identified, they'll be able to offer treatment and advice.

From our clinical impression, if we think you may need other investigations or allergy tests such as Skin prick tests, Patch test, Allergen challenge tests, Food intolerance tests etc we make a referral to appropriate specialists.

For all enquiries or to make initial consultation call us on 0845 6019982

Our Clinics

  • Telephone for All Clinics:
    0845 6019982
  • Churchill Clinic
    94 Churchill Ave
    Chatham Kent
    ME5 0DL
  • Allington Clinic
    26 Tichborne Close
    Allington Maidstone
    ME16 0RY
  • Lockmeadow Clinic
    54-56 Tonbridge Road
    Maidstone
    ME16 8SE

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