Food and environmental allergies are prevalent among a substantial segment of the US population. The prevalence of food allergies in US have been estimated at 11% of the adult population. Up to one in 5 adults surveyed have reported some type of food allergy reaction. Incidence of pediatric allergies are estimated at 7% to 8% of children. Some studies show an increase in pediatric allergic reactions.
Eight specific types of foods are responsible for 90% of all reported food allergies. These include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, shell fish, soy, wheat and fish. Each year in the U.S., it is estimated that anaphylaxis to food results in 30,000 emergency room visits.
Airborne Environmental Allergies
Airborne Environmental indoor and outdoor allergens can cause various respiratory, skin and eye allergic symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of airborne environmental allergens include Allergic Rhinitis most commonly known as hay fever affects about 5 million of the children population and 19 million of the adult population annually. Environmental allergens are important triggers for asthma attacks. The same substances that trigger hay fever (allergic rhinitis) symptoms, such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander, may also cause asthma signs and symptoms. This is called allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma.
While food allergies are common across different regions, airborne environmental allergies seem to follow a regional and seasonal pattern. Peak environmental allergy season is considered May to July due to increase in tree, grass and weed pollen production. There are regional variations due to the specific vegetation in different geographic regions. As an example, weed pollen levels may be highest in fall.
Types of Allergy Testing
The two most common methods of allergy testing are the skin prick test and IgE antibody blood test. Most skin prick tests are performed at the physician office setting. The skin prick method tests food and airborne allegen by puncturing the skin and introducing the allergen through the scratch. Reactions such as redness appear within 15 minutes of exposure. Skin prick testing can be time consuming and on occasion painful.
IgE antibody blood testing allows the lab to test for food, airborne or combined panels using the blood drawn from the patient. This method is more efficient and cost effective for initial allergy screening. It is also more preferable for pediatric testing. Jant Pharmacal offers fully automated and semi-automated high throughput IgE systems for CLIA Moderate and CLIA High Complexity laboratories. The extensive test menu enables your lab to perform IgE test panels for environmental airborne allergens, food allergens or combined universal panels. Regional environmental panels are also available.