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What does high or elevated IgE mean?

AAFA's "Ask the Allergist" is a free service provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Our allergist will answer your questions about asthma and allergies. We provide only general advice about managing asthma or allergies, medicines and treatments. "Ask the Allergist" does not answer questions about specific consumer products. This information is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. Always talk with your doctor before changing your asthma or allergy management plan.

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Question
My son has elevated IgE levels. Does that mean that he has allergies?
Answer

IgE (Immunoglobin E) are antibodies produced by the immune system. They can be elevated for many reasons. A common reason may include the presence of an allergic condition. Allergic conditions include atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, asthma, and food allergy. It is important to understand that total IgE does not mean your son has a specific allergy to something. But, testing specific IgE (IgE that binds to pollen or a specific food) can help determine this. Two tests can assess specific allergies: The skin prick tests and serum-specific IgE blood tests. It is also critical to understand that these tests are sensitive. A positive skin prick or blood test to food, in itself, cannot make a diagnosis of food allergy. The medical history is important to make this diagnosis. I recommend you discuss the test results with your son's physician.

Categories
Allergy, Diagnosis
Answered by

Douglas T. Johnston D.O. FAAAAI, FACAAI

Reviewed and Answered

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