allergies Archives - Lifelab Testing

Seasonal Allergies vs COVID-19

In the UK, every year thousands of people suffer from uncomfortable symptoms caused by a reaction to environmental allergens. Seasonal allergies, otherwise known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, are a common part of many people’s lives, yet recent circumstances have brought about challenges not faced before.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, it is now difficult to know whether you’re experiencing hay fever or COVID-19, as symptoms could overlap between the two. As a result, we’ve put together all the information you need to know about seasonal allergies vs COVID-19.

Check out our quick infographic guide below, or read more detail behind specific allergies and symptoms.

Allergies Versus COVID Infographic

Do I have COVID-19 or Seasonal Allergies

Common Allergy Types

Pollen Allergy

Pollen is the most common allergen thought to affect 1 in 5 people during their lifetime. This mainly occurs in Spring and Summer as plants release pollen, resulting in people experiencing an adverse immune response. Sometimes these reactions are to specific plants, such as a tree pollen allergy or grass pollen allergy.

Hay Fever

Hay fever is the body’s allergic response to environmental outdoor or indoor substances (mainly pollen) that are wrongfully identified as harmful. An allergic reaction to pollen is called hay fever.

How long does hay fever last?

Hay fever begins immediately after being exposed to an allergen, and symptoms will continue for as long as you are exposed.

When does hay fever season end?

Depending on where you live in the UK, allergies to pollen tend to occur from March to September, starting with tree pollen first and ending with weed pollen.

Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mites are tiny, microscopic bugs that exist in our homes in warm environments such as bedding, furniture, and carpeting. Although dust mites are perennial allergens and can impact people all year, symptoms can be worse during winter when there is less ventilation.

Mould Allergy

Like dust mites, allergy to mould can be experienced all year round, yet with less ventilation around the home in colder months, there may be more issues during this time.

Pet Dander Allergy

An allergy to pet dander is caused by the body reacting negatively to proteins in dead skin cells that are shed by animals. Suffering from a pet allergy is more common in those who also have asthma or hay fever. There are a few reasons why pet allergies may worsen during winter, including staying inside with your pet for longer, lack of ventilation in the house, and pets having thicker fur with winter coats.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are consistent whether you are reacting to pollen, dust, mould, or pet dander.

Seasonal allergies symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, runny, or blocked nose
  • Itchy watering eyes
  • Itchy ears or throat
  • Postnasal drip

COVID-19 Symptoms

People suffering from coronavirus have described experiencing symptoms that range from mild to severe.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • A fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • A continuous cough and sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • A loss or change to taste or smell
  • Aching body or headache

Is it seasonal allergies or COVID-19?

If you are wondering whether you have hay fever or coronavirus, there are distinctions between the two in terms of symptoms. Seasonal allergies tend to induce symptoms that are related to itchiness, such as an itchy nose, eyes, ears, or throat. On the other hand, COVID-19 symptoms are more cold-like so include a fever, headache and a change in taste or smell.

What do I do if I think I have an allergy?

If you are experiencing symptoms of an allergy and want to know what’s causing them, you can order an allergy test online. We’ll send you a simple blood spot test, then in our laboratory we’ll use your sample to test against 38 common allergens including house dust mites, different grasses and different types of dander.

We hope this guide had been useful in helping you differentiate between seasonal allergies and COVID-19. You can also learn more about different types of allergies by accessing tons of resources here.

How Could Living With Allergies Affect My Relationship?

Moving in together can be such a magical experience for couples, especially around this time of year. February means it’s time to light the candles, to sit down for a romantic meal at home with the one you love most; until disaster strikes! Suddenly, you discover your partner is living with allergies to some of your favourite foods, and you’re left reeling as you adjust to life without these dishes. For people living with allergies, this is a daily issue. Sadly, this is the reality for many couples who fail to adjust to life after discovering an allergy (1), and if you fear that this all too familiar story could become you and your partner, then it’s time to do something about it!

Understanding the basics.

Something that many couples may not consider when making the decision to live together is how each other’s allergies and intolerances may impact the types of food that both are consuming together on a daily basis. For some of the lucky ones, this may never be an issue. However, for others, it may be difficult to adjust to a new way of living without a certain type of food in the house. Especially where the most severe reactions for sufferers living with allergies could experience an anaphylactic reaction just from breathing in a particular substance, such as nuts or sesame seeds. (2) This Valentine’s Day, Lifelab Testing is committed to ensuring that you and your loved ones have the most comprehensive look at your allergies and intolerances possible, so that you can make smart and informed decisions about the food you choose to stock your shelves with to make your home an allergy-safe environment for everyone!

Living with Allergies in the 21st Century.

For some couples, adapting to a new situation such as the discovery of an allergy is a breeze, as you may not have enjoyed the foods causing reactions, or have no trouble compromising on food items for your partner’s sake. For others, though, discovering your partner has an allergy to common foods can be a difficult thing to accept. Especially if it is an item that has been incorporated into your diet for a long time, which makes early discovery absolutely essential. Adjusting to a new way of eating can take time, patience, and communication, but is vitally important for the sustainability of your relationship with your partner, especially if the allergy is potentially life-threatening.

What happens next?

Rarely, both people in the relationship will have the same trigger foods (3), which makes the elimination process far simpler and less stressful for the parties involved. In most situations, however, measures will have to be taken from a non-sufferer to protect the allergy sufferer in the relationship, but all hope is not lost! If the allergy is non-life threatening, there are a number of measures you can take in the home to keep the trigger foods away from the sufferer without losing the joy of enjoying that food yourself, such as:

  • Store trigger foods separately from all other foods.
  • Never cross-contaminate utensils preparing trigger foods when also preparing other foods.
  • Refrain from physical contact (kissing, touching etc.) with the allergy sufferer after the trigger food is consumed by a non-sufferer.

Get tested and live happier

It is always important to consider the needs of the sufferer when making a decision on whether to continue purchasing the trigger food, as well as how possible it is to avoid cross-contamination in order to protect your loved one from the allergen. Getting a Lifelab Test kit is the quickest way to learn what your body can and can’t tolerate. Living with allergies doesn’t need to put the end to your Valentine’s Day plans, so get tested and enjoy your day.

References

  1. https://www.ecarf.org/en/relationships-and-food-allergies/
  2. https://www.gq.com/story/food-allergies-dating
  3. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/allergies-romance

The Difference Between Hay Fever and Covid

A few years ago, a sore throat, sudden loss of smell or wheezy cough might not have worried you. But as scientists continue to discover potential symptoms of coronavirus, the smallest sensation can now cause serious anxiety – and this could get even worse with hay fever season fast approaching.

From headaches to fatigue, there is a considerable overlap between the symptoms of hay fever and COVID-19. If you’ve noticed unusual symptoms but have received a negative covid test, hay fever testing could be the best way forward.  

In this blog post, we’ll share some key hay fever symptoms and explain how our complete body test could help you tell the difference between hay fever and COVID-19, and take control of your health.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

We’re probably all familiar with the typical hay fever symptoms: a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. But did you know there are a number of other hay fever symptoms that you may have overlooked? According to the NHS, these include:

  • Loss of smell
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Blocked nose
  • Itchy throat, mouth, nose or ears

Several of these have also been identified as potential covid symptoms, so it’s important to get a reliable covid test first. But once that’s been ruled out, you may be wondering whether pollen is to blame for your discomfort.

How does hay fever testing work?

At Lifelab, our complete body allergy test will test for 40 different allergies. And it’s not just food and drink allergies we can identify. By testing a small sample of your blood, we can test for pollen-related antibodies that could indicate you have hay fever – i.e. an allergy to pollen.

If your symptoms are noticeably worse around certain plants, such as cut grass or crops in a field, you may already suspect that you have hay fever

Hay fever season is typically between late March and September as this is when the pollen count is highest. However, some people experience symptoms all year-round, so don’t wait until September for the sneezing to go away!

With a reliable hay fever test, you can get to the bottom of the problem and start managing your symptoms as soon as possible.

Order your complete body test today

With Lifelab Testing, you can find out whether you’re suffering from hay fever once and for all. Order your complete body test online to get fast and reliable answers from the comfort of your own home.

Covid-19 or Allergies: How can I distinguish the symptoms?

During this challenging time, with every sneeze, cough or tickle in the throat, many people wonder: Do I have COVID-19 or allergies? This could be a tricky question since most of those symptoms are also associated with seasonal flu. If this was not enough, millions of allergy sufferers around the world are finding this question tricky to answer, causing them to unnecessary self-isolate and constant worries: COVID-19 or allergies?

Today, we are here to shine some light on the recent findings to help you distinguish the symptoms between COVID-19 and allergies. If you think that you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call your local NHS practice and get tested for COVID-19 first.

Allergies can occur seasonally or be present year-long including mild to severe symptoms. Allergies are caused by your immune system overreacting to pollen, dust, mould, pet dander to mention some and are not contagious.

Common allergies symptoms include:

Sneezing, running nose, itchy or watery eyes, itchy nose or ears, mild fatigue, and mild sore throat.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a viral illness spread through droplets via coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact. Symptoms typically start between 2-14 days after exposure and they can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Common COVID-19 symptoms include:

Fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, intense fatigue, body aches, loss of smell.

How to distinguish between the two: Checklist for COVID 19 or Allergies
  • Allergies symptoms tend to be long-lasting than viral symptoms and can be treated with allergy medications

  • Itchiness is normally a clear symptom of allergy while is not a symptom of viral infection

  • Fever is not a symptom of allergy, but is a common symptom of people with COVID-19

  • Constant sneezing is associated with allergy symptoms.

To help you check the symptoms we are summarising the symptoms for COVID-19 and allergies in the table below so you could check your symptoms and help determine what health issue you may be suffering from. On our website, we have allergy and intolerance tests available that can help you to determine the cause of your symptoms. Please stay alert and keep safe, together we will get through that.

Symptoms Allergies COVID-19
Body aches Rare Positive
Chills No Positive
Fever No Positive
Headache Sometimes Sometimes
Nasal Congestion Positive Rare
Running nose Positive Rare
Sneezing Positive Rare
Itchy/watery eyes Positive No
Dry cough Sometimes Positive
Shortness of breath Sometimes Positive
Wheezing Sometimes Rare
Loss of smell Mild Positive
Sore Throat Sometimes Sometimes
Nausea, vomiting No Sometimes

Five ways an allergy test will change your life

As Francis Bacon once said, “Knowledge is power.” and an allergy test can give you the power to change your life. Once you’re aware of the allergies you suffer from and the effects they’re having on your body and life, you can take the steps necessary towards a healthier lifestyle.

There are many ways allergy testing can change your life; below are five we’ve identified.

1. You can finally enjoy social events

Allergies can hurt your ability to enjoy your social time. Meals can be riddled with ingredients that upset your stomach, going for a coffee can leave you feeling anxious, and bar snacks can leave you struggling for breath. Allergy testing can help you avoid foods that cause these and many other symptoms, empowering you to get the most out of time with friends.

2. Improved workout performance

Allergies can encourage any number of symptoms that impair athletic performance. In some cases, the symptoms, combined with exercise, can be life-threatening. An allergy test can help you identify foods and substances that leave you puffing for breath, long before your muscles feel fatigued, or cutting your workout short to make an unexpected trip to the nearest bathroom. In turn, exercise can help manage the symptoms of an allergy.

man running on treadmill

3. Improved cognitive function

Brain fog leaves you unable to focus on even the simplest of tasks and certainly far short of being able to deliver your best work. Allergies can cause inflammation which affects sleep patterns leaving you in a state of sleepy wakefulness. This can have a real impact on your working and social life as essential tasks can take twice as long. Allergy testing can help identify potential causing factors that you can eliminate from your diet or life, helping clear your mind and allow you to focus entirely on the tasks at hand.

4. Improved mood

Studies have found that allergies can have mental effects as well as physical. Allergy induced fatigue can lead to depression and anxiety as sufferers struggle to get quality sleep. Depression has been shown to be twice as common amongst allergy sufferers than the general population. Identifying the culprit using allergy testing can help combat depression and lift your mood.

5. Improved sleep quality

There are a significant number of effectors on sleep and eliminating them one by one will lead to enhanced rest. Amongst the things that can have an impact on sleep is an allergy. Sleep is the time your brain uses to recuperate and restore damaged cells. To do this, your brain requires a steady flow of oxygen which can be in short supply when an allergic reaction inflames nasal passages. 

 To begin your life-changing journey, you can take one of our allergy tests today to eliminate your culprit.

Allergy People making a difference

There are so many people looking to make a difference in their lifestyle and diet, but it does not stop there. Allergy testing people are making a difference and spreading the word, so we thought it was time to celebrate their awareness and ability. Look at how we have helped some of our customers to improve their lives, and how they have spread their own awareness.

Chris Jones – Lifelab Testimonial

“My experience was great, particularly as I messed the first one up so getting a second kit was easy.  I was intrigued by the results and have found that reflecting this in my diet has helped my health and well-being. But overall the whole process was easy and I would recommend, in fact, I already have. Thanks!” – Chris wanted to make a change in his life, and he was dedicated to improving his diet. He did this withLifelab Testing and allergy testing kits, and he loved the whole process, recommending it to any others who suffer from food allergies.

Chris Jones loved his Lifelab Testing testimonial

Danielle Lloyd – Spreading the word

We’re absolutely delighted to have helped model and TV star: the AMAZING Danielle Lloyd, kickstart her year in the best way possible by helping her discover her Intolerances with an easy to use at-home Intolerance Test ? Just take a look at what she had to say about her Lifelab Testing experience below! ??

“I’m starting the new year feeling great after finding out what was causing me bloating and pain after eating food, with Lifelab Testing‘s at-home intolerance and allergy testing kit. The results were so good that my son Harry did a test, too, and since changing his diet to gluten free, he hasn’t been in any pain. My results showed I had to cut out eggs, yoghurt and white beans, which I eat regularly as part of a healthy diet, so it’s been a total change but it’s for the better and means I’m not bloating after meals anymore! The test was so easy to do and really thorough as it checks over 159 intolerances, so I knew it’d be a good way of finding out what was causing the pain.”

Danielle Lloyd is spreading the benefits of understanding your allergies and intolerances

Lauren McQueen spreading the news

We are so proud to have helped people cope with their allergies, and with people coming to us and ask how we could help them with their allergies through allergy testing, they wanted to spread the word. Lauren McQueen was another one, check out her testimonial below and also, you can hop over to Instagram to find out more:

I have been struggling with bad breakouts on my skin alongside extreme bloating of my stomach. I contacted Lifelab Testing and purchased their Complete Intolerance Test without any hesitation. I took my blood sample and returned it to Lifelab for testing. Within days, my results were ready in the ‘my account’ section. After I studied my results, I was put in contact with Lifelab Testing’s Nutritional Therapist who helped me to understand my results more and how to structure my diet around this. With this knowledge, I am now aware of what I should eat less of and what to completely avoid.

Lauren shared her experience on her Instagram page, and utilising our nutritional therapists, she was able to improve her health and lifestyle. We are very keen to see people spread the word about allergies and healthy living.

Allergy Testing with Lauren

For more information on allergy testing and finding out about the way people share their experiences with allergy testing, check out www.lifelabtesting.com.

Asthma & Allergens That Cause It

Asthma is a common condition that causes respiratory distress, such as coughing, wheezing and acute difficulty in breathing. Whether the condition exists due to genetic or environmental factors, the symptoms are very often difficult to tell apart and even if allergens aren’t the direct cause, they can certainly exacerbate the problem.

There are some distinct differences to watch out for, when trying to differentiate the two:

An allergic reaction will manifest in the following symptoms:

❏ Sneezing
❏ Excess mucus production
❏ Scratchiness in the throat
❏ Hives and/or rashes
❏ Itchy and watery eyes

Whereas, with asthma (a respiratory condition), the symptoms are quite different:

❏ Prolonged coughing at night or first thing in the morning
❏ Tightness of the chest
❏ Wheezing
❏ An ability to catch breath

Allergy Induced Asthma 

Congenital asthma is a long-term condition that can usually only be treated by Salbutamol and/or corticosteroids as needed, which means that aside from recognising the symptoms and administering inhalers as necessary, there’s not a lot that can be done to prevent it.

What can be done however, is to identify any allergens that might trigger an attack or make the problem worse. This is where a blood test can be very useful. For just £75, you can be screened for a wide range of potential triggers and minimise the chance of any unnecessary asthma attacks.

Simply visit our website www.lifelabtesting.com and take the few simple steps necessary to provide us with a small sample of your blood and usually within 3-5 working days, you’ll know a lot more about what your body likes and what it doesn’t do so well with.

Useful to Many

Around 5 million people in the UK suffer with asthma and of those, over 60% have a form of the condition that is worsened and compounded by food based and airborne allergens. This means that over 3 million people could potentially benefit from better control of diet and reduced exposure to any potential allergic triggers.

Treating Allergy Induced Asthma 

In addition to standard medications you would get from your GP, like Ventolin inhalers that treat asthma itself, there are various other treatments specifically designed to help with symptoms that point towards allergy induced asthma.

They include:

Allergy shots, which are used a little bit like a vaccine, as each shot administers a small amount of the allergen into the body to allow it to slowly build a tolerance to it. Also called immunotherapy, it is usually given over a period of around 3 years and it is administered by injection, hence the name.

Anti-Immunoglobulin E (usually referred to as IgE for ease) Immunotherapy focuses on the allergic reaction itself and is typically only suitable for those with moderately acute asthma. It is not given initially, as it is usually reserved for when other treatment has had no effect.

Montelukast is another asthma medication that can be used to combat the symptoms of allergies and allergy induced asthma. It is normally taken on a daily basis in pill form and it helps to regulate the body’s immune response.

Get Tested Now

If you’re one of the 5 million sufferers of asthma in the UK, you’ll know how unpleasant an attack can be and by getting yourself tested, you’ll identify things that make it worse, allowing you to take the necessary measures to lessen the impact and start enjoying the warmer months of the year like everyone else.