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Asthma and Allergy Awareness

May is Asthma and Allergy awareness month, and at Vibrant, we have worked hard in research and development to create an expanded allergen panel that includes 96 food allergens and 46 inhalant allergens — one of the most comprehensive tests on the market for detecting allergy responses.

Because allergies and allergic rhinitis can often exacerbate asthma, it is important to detect and manage allergies, whether food- or environmentally related. Currently, health statistics indicate that between 10-30% of adults in the world suffer from some form of allergic rhinitis.

Many people are fully aware of their allergies, however, others have vague symptoms which may have some overlap with other conditions, making it difficult to detect whether an allergic response is occurring.

The most common mild-to-moderate symptoms of food allergies are:
  • Hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin)
  • Eczema flare (a persistent dry, itchy rash)
  • Itchy mouth or ear canal
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Odd taste in the mouth
  • Tight, hoarse throat
  • Nasal congestion or a runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Dry cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
Severe symptoms of food allergies may include:
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat that blocks the airway
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Pale or blue coloring of the skin
  • Drop in blood pressure (feeling faint, confused, weak, passing out)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Weak pulse
  • Anaphylaxis- a potentially life-threatening reaction that can lower blood pressure, impair breathing and send the body into shock immediately

Inhaled allergies are a different set of allergic responses, because the airway is involved, rather than just the immune responses present in the gastrointestinal tract.

Common symptoms of inhalant allergies include:
  • Runny Nose
  • Itchy palate, nose, eyes, throat and/or skin
  • Red irritated eyes
  • Puffy, swollen eyelids
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Contact sensitivity on the skin causing eczema

What’s the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity?

All allergies are technically sensitivities, but not all sensitivities are allergies. There are four types of hypersensitivities in humans.

Allergies are Type I hypersensitivities (involving IgE antibodies) and are typically immediate reactions (or within 30 minutes of exposure), but you can also form other types of hypersensitivities that are less severe, or delayed responses (involving IgG or IgA antibodies, as well as cytokines) up to 72 hours after exposure to a food or inhalant.

Many people confuse symptoms of food sensitivities with allergies, as well as confuse other conditions with sensitivities (autoimmune reactions, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, FODMAP intolerances, and more). Testing can rule in or rule out both allergies and sensitivities, allowing you and your healthcare provider to focus on other conditions that might possibly be at the root of your symptoms.

If you think you may have an allergy to a food or inhalant, but need some clarity on how severe this reaction might be, consider Vibrant’s Food Allergen and Inhalant Allergen tests.

Visit us at our website for more information about our services and other lab products.