If you have an allergy, your body is reacting to something you inhaled, touched or ate. The substances that trigger an allergic reaction are called allergens. Reactions to these allergens range from annoying to life-threatening.
Many people with untreated allergy symptoms aren't aware of how much better they can feel once their symptoms are properly diagnosed and managed by a physician.
What are the benefits of allergy testing?
Allergy tests, combined with the knowledge of your healthcare provider to interpret them, can give precise information about what you are as well as what you are not allergic to. Allergy testing should always occur along with a physical examination and a discussion about your past and current symptoms.
For instance, if you wheeze when you are at home and don't know why, you don't have to get rid of your cat if your allergy testing shows you are allergic to dust mites but not cats. With this information, you and your physician can develop a treatment plan to manage or even get rid of your symptoms.
What types of allergy test are there?
Different allergens bother different people, so your healthcare provider will determine which test is the best for you. The allergen extracts or vaccines used in allergy tests performed by healthcare providers meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements, making them safe for use.
This type of testing is the most common and is relatively painless. A very small amount of certain allergens is put into your skin by making a small indentation or "prick" on the surface of your skin.
If you have allergies, just a little swelling will occur where the allergen(s) which you are allergic to was introduced. If you are allergic to ragweed pollen, but not to cats, only the ragweed allergen will cause a little swelling or itching. The spot where the cat allergen was applied will remain normal.
You don't have to wait long to find out what is triggering your allergies. Reactions occur within about 15 minutes. And you generally won't have any other symptoms besides the small hives where the tests were done, which go away within 30 minutes. If your prick skin tests are negative but your physician still suspects you might have allergies, more sensitive intradermal tests will be used in which a small amount of allergen is injected within the skin.
A skin test has to be done in a healthcare provider's office to minimize the risk of rare side effects.
In a challenge test, a very small amount of an allergen is inhaled or taken by mouth. Challenges are done mostly with potential food or medication allergies, and it is very important that they be supervised by a healthcare provider.
Feel better. Live better.
The right care can make the difference between suffering with an allergic disease and feeling better. By visiting a healthcare provider, you can expect an accurate diagnosis, a treatment plan that works and educational information to help you manage your disease. We do immunotherapy (allergy shots). Click the button below to learn more.
Should You Be Tested?
Do you experience any of these symptoms?
Most symptoms are caused by one or more of these allergens: