Anyone who has had allergy testing has probably been through the experience
of going to a lab and having blood collected from their arm, with the
blood tested separately for each allergen, (the substance that may be
causing the allergic reaction). Or the patient has an allergy “scratch
test” where different allergens are tested by scratching a small
incision on the patient’s skin. These methods of allergy testing
take time, may involve a trip to the lab, and the provider must select
the specific allergens to be tested. Sometimes it takes many different
tests to determine exactly what allergies the patient has.
Campbell County Memorial Hospital's
Laboratory implemented a new allergy test nearly two years ago that requires a much
smaller blood sample with more comprehensive results. When a provider
orders the Spiriplex allergy test,
Allergenex, only four drops of blood are needed. The sample is tested for 68 of the
most common food and environmental allergens, like dust mites, weeds and
grasses, eggs and peanuts. Patients as young as six months old can be
tested, and each sample is tested separately three times for better accuracy.
The test also detects sensitivity, or things the patient is slightly allergic
to, which can be difficult to diagnose if the patient isn’t experiencing
significant symptoms. Sometimes knowing what patients can eat or be around
in the environment is just as important as knowing what they cannot.
The test results, along with the patient’s history, physical exam,
and symptoms, help the provider create a successful diagnosis and treatment plan.
Berina Bear, a Medical Technologist in the CCMH Laboratory, was one of
the first patients to have the Spiriplex allergy test. She sometimes had
trouble breathing and was having migraine headaches, so she saw local
ear, nose and throat specialist
Dr. Ian Swift in Gillette, Wyoming. Her symptoms of stomach problems, and an itchy throat
after eating certain foods suggested allergies, not sinus problems. Dr.
Swift performed a scratch test in his office, but suggested Berina have
the Allergenex test as well.
“I was allergic to all but four things in the food section,”
Berina said. “I changed my diet and stopped eating the foods I was
allergic to, and I lost 20 pounds in three months.”
Berina also found out that she had sensitivities, or less severe allergies
to foods like peanuts, and respiratory allergens like dog hair. And, because
she knows which foods trigger symptoms, she’s had fewer migraines.
“It’s been a relief to know what you’re allergic to,”
For more information, visit
Pictured: Berina Bear, who recently had the Spiriplex allergy test, Allergenex,available at the CCMH Laboratory.