Taking charge of your allergy
Getting tested for an allergy gives you valuable information about something that may have been affecting you for quite a while. You may not even know that you have an allergy. An allergy can affect you in different ways:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Upset stomach
You get symptoms like this when your immune system overreacts to certain substances, like:
- Dust mites
- Certain foods
For someone who is allergic, these symptoms are uncomfortable and can affect your quality of life. In very extreme cases they can even be life-threatening.
Your immune system behaves as if the allergen is a dangerous substance and produces antibodies to destroy it. As a result, chemicals are released which cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
An allergy test can confirm a diagnosis already clear from your clinical history. With the information from an allergy test, together we can decide on a way to manage your allergy.
Getting tested for an allergy can be your first step to a better quality of life.
We understand that if you have concerns about an allergy, you want to find a solution, quickly and easily. At GP Matters we will talk to you about managing your allergy and the best way forward for you. This can involve anti-histamine tablets, other oral anti-allergy medication and steroid nasal sprays . We want you to have as much information as you need to be able to make the right decision for you. Together we'll get you back to good health as soon as possible.
Preparing to visit us
If you think you may want to be tested for an allergy, the first step is to make an appointment for a consultation. An allergy consultation will take approximately 30m. It is important to stop taking oral antihistamine tablets for 72 hours prior to your appointment, so as not to interfere with the results of the skin prick testing.
At the consultation, you will see Dr Carole McAlister who will talk to you about your clinical history. You will be asked a range of questions about your symptoms, general health, diet, and home and work environments. All of these are important to work out just what could be triggering your reactions (allergens) as well as deciding what is the most appropriate next step for you.
Once we take down your clinical history, we will discuss whether a skin prick test or a blood test is best for you. The test you have will depend on a number of factors, including your symptoms and the condition of your skin. For example, if you have a history of severe allergic reactions or if you suffer with extensive eczema, a blood test will be better for you than a skin prick test.
The skin prick test
This test really only scratches the skin, rather than puncturing or piercing it. No blood is drawn and it is very safe. Small amounts of possible allergens are put in the form of drops onto your forearm. The skin is then scratched so that the allergens can react with your skin. If a red mark appears, it is measured and the doctor can work out the best advice on avoiding and managing the identified allergy. The result of this test will be given at the same appointment.
The blood test
A sample of blood is taken and sent to one of our laboratories for analysis. The lab results can confirm the diagnosis reached during your consultation. You will be advised of the result within 2 to 3 weeks.
After the test
If an allergy has been discovered, we can talk to you about how to control it. Most allergies can be dealt with by managing your lifestyle and through medication and avoidance. If your allergy is particularly complex, the doctor can refer you to an allergy specialist for further treatment or advice. At the end of your consultation, you will given advice and information about your treatment.
How much will it cost?
Costs of testing
£60 - Allergy Consultation Only (does not include tests)
£100 - £160 - Allergy Consultation and whichever allergy tests are indicated (skin prick testing and or blood tests)
We treat patients with immunotherapy/desensitisation for grass and tree pollen with pollinex. This is a 4 part course of injections done in the winter, to make sure this is done as safely as possible when there is no grass or tree pollen circulating in the atmosphere. We also offer oralvac which is a sublingual(under the tongue) treatment administered by the individual for the mangement of cat and house dust mite allergies. The cost of these treatments changes on a yearly basis, so please email us for up-to-date information.