If you’ve been told you or someone you love needs to get IgE allergy testing, then you may be unsure as to what an IgE allergy is and what kind of testing to expect. Most likely, your doctor is the one who is encouraging (or mandating) an IgE allergy test, and for good reason!
In this post, we will discuss what an IgE allergy is and compare it to other types of food allergies. Also, we will lay out the symptoms of an IgE food allergy so that you can identify if someone is having a reaction. Knowing the symptoms can save a life! Lastly, we will discuss several types of IgE food allergy testing available so that you are prepared.
What is an IgE allergy?
An IgE allergy is more commonly known as a food allergy. What do you think of when you hear “food allergy?” More than likely, you picture someone in anaphylactic shock. Their throat may be closing up, they are having trouble breathing, or they break out in hives all over. If that is what you picture, you are correct!
IgE food allergies are severe and life-threatening reactions to food. Some common IgE food allergies come from the top 8 allergens:
- Milk allergy
- Egg allergy
- Fish allergy
- Shellfish allergy
- Tree nut allergy
- Peanut allergy
- Wheat allergy
- Soy allergy
We will discuss the symptoms in the section below, however, it is important to know that IgE food allergies can be severe and life-threatening. If you see someone having a food allergy, call emergency services. Those who are exposed to their food allergen need immediate medical attention.
What are the symptoms on an IgE food allergy?
As mentioned before, food allergy symptoms are often severe, immediate and life threatening. However, sometimes they are more mild in nature. Regardless of the severity, it is important to monitor these symptoms and notify your doctor. Here is a list of symptoms of an IgE food allergy. Knowing these symptoms can save a life.
- Tingling in the mouth
- Itchiness and/or eczema
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth or throat
- Anaphylaxis (includes symptoms of constricted airways, rapid pulse, severe blood pressure drop)
- Dizziness or lightshades
If you suspect someone is at risk for a food allergy, then monitor for these symptoms and get medical help.
How do I get tested for IgE food allergies?
Typically, a doctor finds out someone has a food allergy before a dangerous event ever happens, or people realize they have a food allergy due to a severe event. Regardless of how you found out that you or someone you love has a food allergy, IgE allergy testing will be done. Here is a list of several types of allergy tests your doctor may order:
- Skin prick test
- Allergy blood tests
- Elimination diet
- Oral food challenges
Depending on the test, some are more invasive than others. Talk to your doctor to determine the best IgE allergy testing for you.