Header image courtesy of Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital
Originally published by Ching Yuen. Last updated by Shania Siu.
You know that persistently clogged nose you have been nursing for almost six months now? Face it; it’s probably an allergy (most likely due to Hong Kong’s polluted air). Stop putting off taking a simple allergy test—it will help you become more familiar with your body, and avoid potentially life-threatening scenarios. We have sourced the best places across Hong Kong for you to get a quick and accurate allergy test according to your needs.
When it comes to allergies, one of the biggest concerns centres around young children. As their immune systems are not fully developed, you never know when an allergic reaction might occur. However, the same also applies to adults. Whatever the allergen is, allergic reaction symptoms are varied, ranging from a runny nose to rashes, and even death. Thus, the best thing to do is to pinpoint the allergen early and learn how to avoid it in your lifestyle.
Allergies have their roots in our immune system, which protects us from invading germs or bacteria usually trying to cause illness or harm. However, the immune system of people affected by an allergy responds differently. If you have an allergy, that means your immune system is overreacting to an allergen and will set off a false alarm by producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
The production of IgE causes cells to release histamine in abundance, thus causing an allergic reaction and symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, or on skin. Everyone has a different body type—that’s why some people are only allergic to cat dander (because they only have the IgE antibodies specific to cat dander). Others may have allergic reactions to multiple allergens, because they have many more types of IgE antibodies.
By using a finger prick test, LifeHub can identify foods that cause an IgE immune response for children and adults, indicating that your body is intolerant to certain food groups. Your sample can be tested against 96 international food items, 96 Asian food items, or a total of 184 food items, which is quite comprehensive. Results are given on a scale of one to three to indicate how intolerant you are to the food group.
Once the food groups are identified, a LifeHub specialist will start working with you to find ways to eliminate the allergens from your lifestyle rather than through medication. If it’s a gluten allergy and you have to say a tearful farewell to bread and carbs... well, that’s too bad. We’re just kidding—your specialist can help distinguish which food types you really need to stop consuming and which ones you can still sneakily get away with!
LifeHub’s 96 food items test and consultation costs $3,280. For a more comprehensive package, you can book their 184 food items test and consultation package for $5,380.
LifeHub, 1/F, The Loop, 33 Wellington Street, Central | (+852) 3622 3453
KingMed Diagnostics offers different allergy tests that are recommended for men or women of all ages looking to do a health check-up or advanced health examinations. It includes more than 37 categories of food allergens, such as common food, seafood, nuts, and fruits, and also covers allergen groups such as inhalants, ezcema, asthma and rhinitis, environmental pollutants, and more. You can even opt for a South China allergen profile to test for common regional allergens! A free lipid profile test is provided with this test with a thorough doctor’s consultation.
Headed by Dr Lee Tak-hong, a world-renowned authority on allergy treatment and prevention and a specialist in respiratory medicine, the Allergy Centre at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital is the first-of-its-kind in Hong Kong, providing comprehensive tests and treatments catered to different types of allergies in both adults and children.
Guess what they have that other hospitals definitely do not? An allergy kitchen! It’s used for food allergy testing and patient education, which, together with other state-of-the-art facilities, is committed to promoting clinical research and raising public awareness of allergies. Its basic skin prick test costs $860.
Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, 2 Village Road, Happy Valley | (+852) 2835 8430
The Centre for Allergy and Asthma Care is staffed by certified specialists in allergy and immunology, focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases involving the upper and lower airways, the eyes, the skin, and the GI tract. Its services include skin testing for environmental allergens, food allergens, contact allergens, and drugs.
In addition, they also offer lung function testing, which includes provocation studies to determine lower airway hypersensitivity, and challenge testing for foods and drugs. These tests can be extensive, and you would have to meet with a doctor first to get a basic diagnosis, where they will decide how many items you should get tested to obtain a more accurate result.
Centre for Allergy and Asthma Care, Suite 1428, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central | (+852) 2818 0180
The allergy tests they use at Quality Health Care is known as the South China IgE Allergy profile ($2,580). A blood sample is drawn and sent off to the lab for an accurate report, covering total IgE, eight types of environmental allergens, and 24 types of food allergens. It is recommended for children aged seven or up. An important thing to note before your visit to Quality Health Care is that they generally require recommendations from a GP or from specialists before proceeding with the allergy test.