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What Are the Symptoms of an ELISA Test Allergy?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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There is no such thing as an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test allergy. The ELISA test is a blood test which checks for certain antibodies, usually to determine if someone has a food allergy. It works by testing for both IgG and IgE antibodies in the bloodstream, both of which are indicators of an underlying allergy. Many medical professionals claim that this testing procedure is quite accurate in diagnosing hidden allergies, while others question the validity of its use.

Many people have the mistaken belief that there can be ELISA test allergy symptoms because they confuse this test with skin tests. Both methods are used to check for allergies, but the skin test may produce noticeable symptoms. This is because allergy skin testing usually exposes an area of tissue to certain potential allergens such as dust or mold. If redness, welts, or inflammation occur, this indicates an allergy is present. Food allergies may cause no such symptoms, so this test is inaccurate for the diagnosis of food allergies.

The only ELISA test allergy indicator is the presence of certain immunoglobins in the blood. Most commonly, IgG and IgE are the ones being tested for. Most serious allergies result in the production of IgE, although not all reactions are serious. Usually, IgE causes immediate reactions. IgG, on the other hand, may not cause an immediate and noticeable reaction. Symptoms caused by food allergies may not appear until several days after eating the offending food.

Although there is not ELISA test allergy symptoms, food allergies themselves may lead to a wide range of symptoms. They may include typical allergic reactions like shortness of breath, redness, swelling, inflammation of the throat, and skin eruptions like hives or welts. Additional symptoms may also occur which are not always associated with allergies. These may include digestive upset like constipation or diarrhea, as well as abdominal pain.

Those who have frequent symptoms may benefit from having an ELISA test performed. Without outward ELISA test allergy symptoms to look for, most patients have to wait several days for blood test results. If antibodies are detected in the blood, this indicates that a food allergy is present. The ELISA test is meant to be able to detect antibodies against up to 100 food types. This covers most potential food allergies, including nut, dairy, and gluten allergies.

While many advocate for the use of ELISA testing, there are some medical professionals who do not. The accuracy of such tests are still being studied and debating amongst doctors and researchers. Each patient should discuss all symptoms and possible allergic reactions with a trained health care worker to determine the most likely cause.

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