Allergy testing, Scientific article

What your allergy test results mean

The immune system produces IgE antibodies to protect the body from parasitic infections.  

In the case of an allergic reaction to a substance such as pollen, house dust mites or insect venom, the same mechanism is initiated. Your body produces IgE antibodies to fight off the substances it reacts to. These IgE antibodies activate mast cells, which in turn release histamine. The release of histamine leads to a dilation of blood vessels (allergy symptoms such as conjunctivitis, hives, edema) and the contraction of bronchial muscles (asthma symptoms).  

If your body produces IgE antibodies against a certain allergen, it means you have sensitization for this allergen.  

To understand what allergy tests like 7DROPS ALL Allergy Test measure, it is important to understand the difference between sensitization and allergy.  

What does sensitization mean?   

Sensitization is the first step towards developing an allergy. Allergic reactions do not occur upon first contact with an allergen. Before that can happen, your immune system must be able to recognize an allergen. When you get stung by a bee, your immune system will remember the structure of the allergen (= a protein in the insect venom) to be able to produce IgE antibodies against it in the future. This process is called sensitization.  

Sensitized but not allergic

In some people, IgE antibodies against a certain allergen have already formed. Still, when they get in contact/are exposed to the allergen source again, no allergy symptoms occur. In this case, a person has a sensitization, but no allergy. Sometimes, a sensitization of the immune system related to one (or more) allergens is present, but no allergy symptoms happen.  

Sensitized and allergic 

In other people, allergy symptoms will occur when they get in contact/are exposed to the allergen source again. In this case, a person has a sensitization and an allergy. The immune system is sensitized to one or more allergens, and allergy symptoms occur because of it.  

A sensitization does not necessarily lead to symptoms, but without sensitization, symptoms cannot occur.  

The human immune system is unique and complex. As of now, we do not know the reason why some people are only sensitized, while others develop a full-on allergy. 

What allergy test results show

Allergy tests such as skin prick tests, blood tests and at-home test kits such as our 7DROPS tests screen for sensitization to pre-selected allergens. Your test results will show your sensitization status. Results indicating sensitization do not necessarily mean that you are allergic, however. As explained above, it is possible that you are sensitized without allergy symptoms ever occurring.  

For this reason, it is important to share your test results with a trained medical professional, even if you obtained your test results by using a home-testing kit. Only an allergy specialist can give an accurate diagnosis by looking at your test results, symptoms, and medical history, and suggest subsequent treatment if it is necessary.  

About at-home allergy test kits

With the 7DROPS ALL Allergy Test, you can test your sensitization status from within the comfort of your own home. The process is simple: after collecting your sample and sending it back to the laboratory, the sample is processed and analyzed by a team of certified professionals, and your results are uploaded to a secure platform within a week.  

There are different kinds of self-tests on the market, and some will ask for hair or saliva samples over blood samples. These kinds of tests have no scientific validity. If you are looking for a home-test kit producing comparable results to a blood test you would get at an allergy specialist’s office, choose a test kit that measures IgE levels as described above.  

With every allergy test, there is a chance that false-positive results are produced. False-positive means that the test shows a sensitization to an allergen that is not present. The same way, false-negative results can show up.  

At 7DROPS, we have implemented measures preventing false-positive results from showing up. Nevertheless, patients should never decide on therapeutic measures (e.g., medication, changes in diet, etc.) based on allergy test results alone. We encourage you to always consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment.  

Please note that only about 25% of people have allergies. Negative test results are not unlikely. 

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