Allergic blood tests in an infant - is it worth doing?

Allergic blood tests in an infant - is it worth doing?

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There is an opinion that children under the age of three should not have allergy tests, because they are unreliable.

This information takes away the hope of many parents who are unsuccessfully seeking an allergen and believe that eventually all symptoms of intolerance will disappear. Meanwhile, it turns out that the most common diagnostic method is quite wrong at the outset.

Of course, it is true that tests in very young children "may not come out" (for example, in the case of independent IgE allergies), but this does not mean that they are not worth doing. Although blood allergy tests are reluctantly ordered by a doctor (they are expensive), they often dispel any doubts.

The dramatically growing number of allergies forces the creation of increasingly accurate diagnostic tools. Every year we know more and more about the causes of allergies, we can recognize triggers, allergy mechanisms, we associate unusual symptoms with intolerance and do not ignore the early signs of trouble. Doctors also have more and more experience in performing tests on the youngest children who are being tested for blood, which consists in taking blood from a vein and determining antibodies typical of allergies.

Why is it worth taking blood tests?

  • this is especially recommended when parents are confused and cannot find the allergen / all allergens,
  • when mom is breastfeeding and tired of the restrictive diet introduced just in case
  • when the baby is breastfed - the baby gets to know many ingredients with mother's milk, which makes it easier to track down the allergen,
  • allows you to determine allergens and avoid deficiencies associated with too low a diet,
  • is a particularly effective diagnostic form in the case of food allergy (it can also be used to diagnose inhalation allergies),
  • the test is also recommended for healthy children whose siblings are allergic.

The advantage of blood tests is also the ability to perform them regardless of skin condition (which often prevents skin tests) and often tests are authoritative when using antihistamines (although it is better to stop taking them before the test, for certainty).

Unfortunately, blood tests are quite expensive (testing specific IgE for one allergen costs as much as skin tests with a set of 10 allergens) and because of this, doctors simply do not want to order them ... in Poland, because they are standard abroad.

However, it is typical for us to recommend to a nursing mother: give the mixture directly or indirectly: recommending a very restrictive diet (just in case). Doctors are very happy to diagnose protein flaw, AD or other causes of changes after seeing the patient. Meanwhile, many problems in the youngest children manifest themselves very similarly, and this is why the tests allow comprehensive diagnostics and more effective help for the patient.

What baby's blood tests?

Allergy blood tests today are:

  1. Radioallergosorption test (RAST)
  2. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Sampling takes a moment, but it can take up to several weeks to wait for the results. After receiving the results, the allergist doctor interprets them, prescribing specific treatment.

The blood test is usually based on assessing the concentration of immunoglobulin E (IgE) class protein, which is higher in people with allergies than in healthy people. Increased values ​​relative to the norm occur in about 60% of children with allergies, and the highest are in children with atopic dermatitis. However, you should be aware that elevated IgE levels may be associated with other factors in a few situations: for example, worms.