FAQ: Before the Test
What is the difference between acute and chronic allergies?

Acute allergies cause severe symptoms in a very short span of time—generally within 30 minutes of contact with the allergen. Many people know from past experience some of the foods they are allergic to. In contrast, symptoms from chronic allergies only start to appear 24 to 48 hours (sometimes even 72 hours) after contact with the allergen. Symptoms of chronic allergies also tend to be more complex, making it difficult to accurately deduce what a patient had come into contact with in the previous three days which caused the reaction. In addition, because our modern diets are highly varied and a single dish often consists of multiple ingredients, it is necessary to undergo thorough testing in order to pinpoint the root cause of chronic allergies.

What are the benefits of biochip allergy testing?

Most allergy testing done at hospitals only test for a limited number of acute allergies (36 allergens at most), and a good portion of these may already be known to patients from past experience. In addition, conventional allergy tests are unable to provide comprehensive recommendations, which means patients receive less value from testing. EBS biochip allergy tests are completely different. Not only do we provide comprehensive testing for both acute and chronic allergies, but we also test for the most allergens (up to 123). Benefits of the EBS Allergy Test include: *Provides a comprehensive overview of potential allergens *Offers customized dietary recommendations to minimize allergic reactions
*Helps reduce allergic reactions and improve health.

Does EBS currently test for the most allergens in the industry?

Yes. EBS is the industry leader in the number of allergens tested for both acute and chronic allergies. The potential allergens selected by EBS—based on the most popular foods in Taiwan—account for over 95% of common allergies. EBS currently offers testing for up to 123 acute allergies and 101 chronic allergies, as well as  allergies to Chinese medicinal herbs.

How accurate are current techniques for allergen screening?

Currently, results obtained from positive control serum experiments yield up to 90% accuracy and specificity. Not only is this superior to many allergy tests currently on the market, but the test is also more cost-effective and efficient.

How often do I need to undergo allergy testing?

Everyone should be tested at least once in their lifetime—but once a year is recommended.

At what age can children be tested for allergies?

Generally, it is recommended that children be over the age of 3 before undergoing allergy testing. This is because children over the age of 3 have a more varied and complete diet which allows for more comprehensive results. However, children younger than 3 with obvious allergy symptoms may also be tested.

Can the test identify food allergens which I have not had previous contact?

No. The answer is similar to the principle of waiting to test children until they are over the age of 3. Without first ingesting the food item, the initial sensitization cannot occur, and no subsequent allergic reactions are triggered. This is why a specific food item must be eaten multiple times before testing can identify whether it will cause an acute or chronic allergy.

Can I be tested if I am currently taking medication or health supplements?

Yes. Steroid medication has the greatest impact on test results. Long-term use or high dosages of steroid medications decrease the criteria being tested. Of the different kinds of steroid medications, oral and injected steroids have the greatest impact, while inhaled and topical steroids have the least.

Can pregnant women be tested?

Pregnant women can be tested throughout their pregnancy and during the breastfeeding stage after giving birth. For optimal benefits, testing is recommended before the fourth month of pregnancy in order to:

1.Lower the mother's risk of allergic reactions
2.Minimize the infant's risk of developing allergies

3.Minimize allergic reactions during the breastfeeding stage by adhering to the dietary recommendations provided from the testing results.

Will the results of tests conducted at different times be the same?

Not necessarily. The concentrations of IgE and IgG in the bloodstream may decrease along with dietary changes, long-term avoidance of allergens, and/or use of medication. In addition, after the test subject has been exposed to new allergens, test results may identify allergens not found in previous tests. This is why testing is recommended once a year for those prone to allergies in order to monitor any changes. (For example: Tests taken three days apart may yield almost identical results. However, tests taken several months apart may yield significantly different results.)

FAQ: Sample Collection
Do I need to fast before being tested?

No. Blood samples can be collected at any time. In fact, the ideal time is during an allergic reaction.

How is the sample collected? How much is needed? Are there any things to pay attention to when sending a sample?

The sample is collected by a qualified medical technician. Approximately 1–2 ml of blood is drawn using a syringe or other blood collection device. Before the sample is submitted, it should be clearly marked with the date of sample collection, record number (for samples submitted by hospitals or clinics), patient name and gender, allergens to be tested for, as well as the name, address, and telephone number of the hospital/clinic. The sample should be sent via refrigerated transport at 4°o or -20°o to ensure that the Immunoglobulin E is not catabolized by bacteria or enzymes due to the high temperature, which will lead to inaccurate test results.

Are there any factors to look out for when submitting a sample that could affect the accuracy of the results?

Yes. Some factors may include:

1.The blood sample was not refrigerated after collection and was left at room temperature for too long (e.g., over 1–2 days). This affects the serum quality and test accuracy.
2.Severe hemolysis during blood collection causes slight deviations in test accuracy (less than 10%).
3.Insufficient blood sample (e.g., less than 0.5 c.c.). Also, the use of blood collection tubes containing anticoagulant (liquid) dilutes the sample.

4.Contamination of the blood collection tube may impact the sample quality (i.e., bacterial contamination, abnormal signals, etc.) and decrease the accuracy of results.

How long will it take to receive the results?

Test results are normally returned within 3–5 business days. This includes both print and digital copies.

FAQ: Test Results
Is there ever a difference between the test results and the actual symptoms of an allergic reaction?

This does sometimes occur. The antibody level in the results does not directly or definitively correlate with the severity of allergy symptoms. For example, a patient’s test results might indicate a moderate allergic response, but the same patient could be experiencing severe symptoms. This illustrates how test results may correspond to different levels of symptom severity, and is also the case for the serological test.

If I take medication or avoid contact with allergens, will my levels of total IgE and specific IgE decrease?

Yes. If the patient avoids known allergens or receives treatment for their allergies, the concentration of IgE in the bloodstream will return to regular levels, making it highly difficult to identify allergic responses.

Will the test results affect my consumption of dietary supplements?

Apart from making dietary adjustments, individuals whose results reveal allergies should:
1.Take probiotic products to improve immune function, alleviate allergy symptoms, and reduce the frequency of allergic reactions.

2.Boost Vitamin C intake to alleviate allergy symptoms.
3.Individuals whose test results reveal allergies to certain Chinese medicinal herbs should avoid taking any dietary supplements containing them in order to receive health benefits while minimizing side effects.

Why is it important to test for allergies to Chinese medicinal herbs? What are the benefits?

Many people in Taiwan consume medicinal herbs as a part of traditional Chinese medicine. However, excessive or inappropriate use of such herbs can trigger allergic reactions (particularly in those most prone to allergies from medicinal herbs). This is why testing for allergies to Chinese medicinal herbs can provide helpful information for establishing dietary recommendations and enable traditional Chinese physicians to select more suitable herbs for their patients.

Is it possible for vegetarians to test positive for allergies to meat and meat products?

Possibly. This is because many non-vegetarian ingredients are used as additives (e.g., dairy products, eggs, etc.) or in dietary and health supplements (e.g., capsules), which makes it possible for vegetarians to accidentally ingest non-vegetarian ingredients. In addition, different allergens may be similar in protein composition (dust mites and crabs and shrimp; milk and beef; etc.), which may trigger a positive test response even if the specific allergen has not been knowingly ingested.

Some of the foods identified as allergens by the test are ones that I seldom eat or have not eaten for a long time. Why do the results still show a positive response?

1.Common Causes: Some foods such as dairy products, eggs, wheat, and nuts are often used as additives in a variety of foods like desserts and pasta. Even a small amount of an allergen can be sufficient to trigger an allergic reaction.
2.Secondary Causes: Foods in the same family, like nuts, melons, and cruciferous vegetables such as white cabbage and broccoli, may test positive because they share similar protein compositions. This is why some individuals who have long avoided a particular food may experience a cross-reaction triggered by ingestion of a different food in the same family. This kind of response indicates a higher risk of allergies to multiple foods in a single food family.
3.Uncommon Causes: Vegetarians who receive test results are sometimes surprised to see a current allergic reaction listed for shrimp, crab, fish, or pork. However, it should be noted that crustaceans and dust mites are all arthropods which share the same protein composition. According to statistics from Taiwan's Department of Health, over 50% of individuals with a dust mite allergy are also allergic to crab and shrimp. In addition, a variety of foods and edible items we consume often contain animal-byproducts—such as gelatin capsules (made from pig and fish skin), medication (e.g., Viartril-s contains ingredients sourced from crabs and shrimp), and even dietary supplements (may contain animal-derived ingredients).
4.Allergy severity (based on medical record and symptoms) is not solely dependent on the quantity of the allergen ingested, but is also affected by the intensity of the individual's own allergic response to a given food item. EX: "Highly Allergic Individual × Low Intake = Allergic Reaction" OR "Allergic Individual × High Intake = Allergic Reaction".