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At-home allergy tests may offer a convenient way for people to determine whether or not they have an allergy to a certain substance. These products are available for purchase online and in many drugstores and pharmacies.
At-home allergy tests are not always reliable, however. People should interpret their results with caution and contact a primary care doctor, allergist, or immunologist for further evaluation.
This article discusses the uses and reliability of at-home allergy tests, some products available to buy online, and when to contact a doctor.
- For a U.K. laboratory: Test My Allergy Combined Allergy & Intolerance test
- For food sensitivity: Everlywell Food Sensitivity test
- For a wide range of allergies: Prime 110 Allergy & Intolerance Test
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) states that allergies happen when a person’s immune system mistakenly believes that a substance is harmful.
When the body comes into contact with this substance, it produces antibodies to protect itself. These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, including histamine, that when triggered cause an allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction commonly causes inflammation and irritation. In severe cases, exposure to an allergen can cause anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
Some common allergens include:
- dust mites
- insect stings
- animal dander
- medications or drugs
A person experiencing symptoms of a nonfood (environmental) allergy may benefit from taking an at-home allergy test. Common symptoms of nonfood allergies include:
- itching, hives, or rash
- itchy or sore throat after exposure to allergen
- sneezing or coughing
- itchy, watery, or red eyes
- wheezing or shortness of breath
It is important to note that the result of an at-home allergy test is not a diagnosis. After completing an at-home allergy test, a person should contact a doctor who can provide a diagnosis if necessary.
At-home tests for food intolerances and allergies are not recommended by the AAAAI. People should speak to a doctor if they think they may have a food allergy or intolerance.
A doctor may diagnose an allergy after conducting a skin test. This often involves pricking the skin with a needle or plastic prong that has a common allergen on it.
Many at-home allergy tests work by obtaining a blood sample using a finger prick. However, this method may not be a reliable way to determine whether or not a person has allergies.
At-home tests that look for immunoglobulin G (IgG4) in the blood are unlikely to provide accurate results, as this antibody is present in people who do and do not have allergies to substances. IgG4 tests are commonly used for at-home food allergy and intolerance tests.
An individual who does decide to use an at-home allergy test will likely find it beneficial to follow up on their test results with a doctor.
Some allergy tests may return a false-positive or false-negative result. It is important to see a healthcare professional for additional explanation and testing, especially if an individual is testing for food allergies.
Below is a list of at-home allergy tests that people can buy online.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tested any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.
For a U.K. laboratory
This product by Test My Allergy requires a blood sample that people can take with a finger prick. The kit provides everything a person needs to take this sample at home.
Individuals need to send their samples to the company’s testing laboratory in the United Kingdom. The pack includes a return envelope. The company then sends the test results back via email.
The company sends all tests to an ISO-9001 certified laboratory for analysis. This means it must adhere to specific quality standards.
This particular test analyzes the presence of immunoglobulin E (IgE) and IgG4 against 70 of the most common allergy and purported intolerance items.
However, there is no medical or scientific data to suggest that IgG4 levels correlate with true intolerances or sensitivities. The AAAAI and other allergy societies worldwide recommend against this type of testing as it has never been scientifically validated.
For food sensitivity
Everlywell’s sensitivity test uses a finger prick sample collection. The company includes all the equipment and instructions in the kit.
A person then sends their sample back to Everlywell’s laboratories. The company provides prepaid shipping. People can receive their test results digitally within days.
Everlywell’s laboratories are
This product does not test for allergies. Instead, it analyzes the presence of IgG4 in a person’s blood against 96 different foods to potentially identify which food sensitivities a person may have.
However, it is important to note that the AAAAI does not recommend IgG4 level testing.
People should not use this product to test for lactose intolerance or celiac disease.
For a wide range of allergies
The Prime 110 test also requires a finger prick to obtain a small blood sample. The kit provides all necessary equipment and instructions.
The company also includes a return envelope wherein a person can enclose their sample and send it back to the laboratory at no additional cost.
Prime 110 sends the results and a thorough report by email. Individuals can purchase a fast-track test and receive their results within 48 hours of the laboratory receiving the blood sample.
The company uses an ISO-9001 certified facility for testing. The laboratory analyzes the blood sample for the presence of IgE and IgG4.
The Prime 110 Allergy & Intolerance Test looks for 75 purported food intolerances and 35 common allergies.
Again, there is no data to suggest IgG4 levels truly correlate with food intolerances.
The company is currently unable to process results from people in the states of New York and New Jersey.
The table below compares the products listed in the section above.
An at-home allergy test should not replace a visit to a primary care doctor, allergist, or immunologist.
These tests may not always be accurate, so a person should interpret their results with caution and seek follow-up tests with a healthcare professional. Alternatively, people may speak to their doctor instead of using an at-home allergy test.
The American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology recommends seeing a healthcare professional if:
- A person’s allergies cause chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion, or breathing difficulties.
- A person has true IgE-mediated food allergy symptoms (e.g., hives, swelling, vomiting, wheezing, or anaphylaxis).
- A person experiences hay fever or other allergy symptoms for several months per year.
- Over-the-counter medications do not help or cause unpleasant side effects.
- Allergies interfere with a person’s day-to-day activities or decrease their quality of life.
- A person experiences warning signs of severe asthma, such as struggling to catch a breath, wheezing and coughing, frequent shortness of breath or chest tightness, or frequent asthma attacks.
There are various at-home allergy tests that a person can purchase. These tend to test for various allergens, but some combine allergy tests with purported intolerance testing.
Many at-home allergy tests require a blood sample. Some products include equipment and instructions that allow the person to obtain the blood using a small finger prick. Some products, however, require a healthcare professional to take a person’s blood in a laboratory.
At-home allergy tests are not always reliable. People should not use these tests as an alternative to contacting a healthcare professional.