The Key To Diagnosing Your Allergies
Many medical conditions can mimic allergies, so it is important to determine if allergens are responsible for your symptoms.
Food, drug, environmental inhalants and insect sting allergies can cause a range of allergic symptoms. The following signs and symptoms may indicate a serious allergic reaction:
- Oral: itching and/or swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat.
- Skin: general itching and swelling, rashes, eczema, hives, blisters.
- Respiratory: nasal congestion, sneezing, hoarseness, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath.
- Digestive: nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea.
- Circulatory: dizziness and/or fainting brought on by a sudden drop in blood pressure, shock, cardiac arrest.
If you or your child experience any of these symptoms it may warrant testing.
The most common allergy test is the skin test or prick test.
During the test, small amounts of natural allergens are applied to the skin by pricking or by injecting a small amount under the skin (intradermal). The range of commonly tested allergens includes:
- Weeds & Ragweed.
- Dust mites
- Insect stings
Your skin is then evaluated for reactions. A positive sign looks like a mosquito bite.
You can drive and return to work or school after the test is complete.
Allergy Testing Information
Does everyone get allergy tested?
No. For some medical problems, allergy testing is unnecessary or may need to be postponed. After the doctor talks with you about your problems and examines you, we will discuss with you what, if any, testing is necessary. Of course, you can always decide not to be allergy tested
Allergy skin testing can be done on infants if it is medically necessary.
A skin test can be performed in the office and read within about two hours. You will get your results the same day. A blood test takes about one week.
Allergy tests can cause some mild discomfort and itch, but is not painful. Most people find that their fear of the test is worse than the reality. The helpful information provided by the test and potential for long-term relief is well worth the momentary discomfort.
How do I prepare for allergy testing?
Please stop taking any antihistamines, both oral and nasal sprays, at least five days prior to your appointment. Oral antihistamines include Benadryl, hydroxyzine, Claritin, Allegra, Xyzal or Zyrtec. Nasal antihistamine sprays include olopatadine and azelastine. Antihistamines can affect the accuracy of the test. If you are unsure about a certain medication, please call the office before your appointment.
Continue to take your asthma medication, including singulair (montelucast), and all type of inhalers. You can continue your normal diet before and after testing.