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When people with allergies are exposed to allergens, the body launches an attack by producing large amounts of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

The Serum Allergy tests are a group of blood-based tests that detect the presence of IgE antibodies to specific allergens. The profile of allergens ordered is dependent on the healthcare provider's suspected diagnosis. The clinical specificity of Serum Allergy tests is in the range of 90% for most allergens tested and is particularly useful in identifying food allergens.

Test at a glance

Clinical Utility

​The Serum Allergy tests are used to aid in the diagnosis of allergies.

The tests can be used to monitor the benefit of therapeutic approaches to allergies. For this reason, blood testing can be used in addition to skin testing.

Ordering

​Healthcare provider needs to complete  “Allergen Test Requisition” form

Patient instructions

​Patient needs to bring the “Allergen Test Requisition” form to a Patient Service Centre. 

Turnaround Time

​Test results will be available within 2 weeks.

Cost

​This test is not currently covered by provincial health plans, but may be covered by the patient’s private insurance.

The Serum Allergy tests may or may not be covered by the provincial health plan or by a private insurance plan. If testing is not covered, then the patient will be charged at the time of specimen collection. Any additional allergen tests ordered after the initial test results will also be billed to the patient.

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Healthcare Professional Information

​What is Being Tested?


The Serum Allergy tests detect IgE-mediated allergic response to a particular antigen. They can be used as an adjunct to the traditionally used skin testing. They are recommended as an alternative to skin testing in a number of clinical circumstances, including when the patient is an infant, over 60 years of age, has an allergic skin disease or is on certain medications to manage the allergic response (i.e. anti-histamines).

The clinical specificity of the Serum Allergy test is in the range of 90% for most allergens tested and seems to be particularly useful in identifying food allergens.

In excess of 450 individual allergen tests have been developed. In addition, a variety of "mix" tests is available for a group of associated common allergens, e.g. weeds and grass pollens. When ordering Serum Allergy tests, it is recommended to initially select a limited number of "mix" tests, consistent with the clinical history for screening. Any positive results should then be followed up with specific allergen tests. The LifeLabs Allergen Test Requisition (ON | BC) lists most common "mix" and single allergen tests; however, for availability of more unusual allergens please contact us for availability.

The Serum Allergy tests may or may not be covered by the provincial health plan or by a private insurance plan. If testing is not covered, then the patient will be charged at the time of specimen collection. Any additional allergen tests ordered after the initial test results will also be billed to the patient.

For additional information please visit www.isitallergy.com

Patient Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

​How is it used?


When people with allergies are exposed to allergens, the body launches an attack by producing large amounts of an antibody called Immuglobulin E (IgE), which is the cause of most allergic reactions. The Serum Allergy tests are a group of blood-based tests that detect the presence of IgE antibodies to specific allergens. The profile of allergens ordered is dependent on the physician's suspected diagnosis. The clinical specificity of Serum Allergy tests is in the range of 90% for most allergens tested and is particularly useful in identifying food allergens.

For additional information please visit www.isitallergy.com

When is it ordered?


The Serum Allergy tests are most commonly ordered as an alternative to traditional skin testing when the patient:

  • Is suspected of having a severely allergic response
  • Has a family history of allergies
  • Is on medications known to interfere with the skin test results (i.e. antihistamines)
  • Has an allergic skin disease (i.e. eczema and dermatitis)
  • Is an infant or an older adult (over 60 years of age)

What does the test result mean?


An increased amount of IgE antibodies to a particular allergen suggests that there is an allergy to it, but a normal amount of IgE antibodies to a particular allergen does not necessarily rule out an allergy to it. The result must be used with other clinical information for a proper diagnosis.

Is there anything else I should know?

  • With the Serum Allergy tests, the patient is never exposed to any allergens or their potentially uncomfortable or dangerous side effects.
  • The Serum Allergy tests can be done at any time regardless of any medications the patient may be taking.
  • The Serum Allergy tests can be used to monitor the benefit of therapeutic approaches to allergies. For this reason, blood testing can be used in addition to skin testing.

Is there a charge for the test?

This test may not be covered by provincial health insurance plans, but it may be covered by your extended private health insurance plan. Contact us to find out about the current fee for the test.

*NOTE:     The Serum Allergy test is a generic term referring to the testing of allergens in blood. It is sometimes referred to as "ImmunoCAP." This term refers specifically to the allergen testing method developed by, and is a registered trademark, of the Phadia AB company. Test methods for allergens are also available from other manufacturers of diagnostic reagents.

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