• Simplify Allergy Testing and Patient Health Management

    Information provided by Quest Diagnostics

    A patient presents with a cough, shortness of breath, headache, and congestion. Is it a respiratory infection such as SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)? Asthma? Or is it an allergy? Unfortunately, all three can have similar symptoms, making them difficult to differentiate. Being able to rule in or rule out allergies as the cause of your patients’ symptoms can help you not only identify your patients’ illnesses, but also inform better treatment decisions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends allergy testing for patients with asthma to help close gaps in care and mitigate risk for other respiratory illnesses.1

    A laboratory test can rule in or rule out atopy in patients with allergy-like symptoms. Allergy testing provides a clinically relevant means of confirming or excluding the presence of atopic disease in patients with upper respiratory disease (URD). These allergy-like symptoms are very difficult to differentiate. Laboratory tests will also accurately identify specific allergen sensitivities in patients with confirmed allergy.

    Anyone presenting with nasal or other allergy-like symptoms is a candidate for specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) testing. However, an ImmunoCAP® Specific IgE blood test should be strongly considered for patients with:

    • recurrent or chronic URD, i.e., rhinitis, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis
    • unseasonal allergy-like symptoms
    • seasonal or perennial allergy-like symptoms
    • recurrent otitis media
    • exogenous asthma and other conditions in which IgE mediation is suspected

    The test can be run on patients of any age and regardless of skin condition. There is no need to stop current medications prior to drawing a blood sample.

    Causes of nasal symptoms associated with URD can range from aspirin intolerance to pregnancy. The exact etiology of allergy-like symptoms is often difficult to determine definitively. The origin could be allergic, bacterial, viral, or pathological and is virtually impossible to establish with an empirical assessment alone. Compounding this, consumer awareness is at an all-time high. Patients often come in with a pre-determined self-diagnosis and request for therapy. History and physical are important, but further inquiry is often necessary to provide an evidence-based diagnosis and treatment regimen.

    Once a definitive diagnosis is reached, regardless of the presence or absence of atopy, appropriate treatment options can be employed. When atopy proves to be a factor in URD, avoidance is considered the primary therapeutic approach by all leading professional allergy associations. This test can identify the specific causative allergens.

    References

    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Allergy testing for persons with asthma: frequently asked questions. Accessed September 4, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/pdfs/AA_Fact_Sheet.pdf

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