When you have an allergy to a substance, an allergy test helps determine what that substance is. Such test can come in the form of a skin test, blood test, or elimination diet.
During an allergic reaction, your immune system is telling you that something is not right. It sends you signals such as sneezing, clogged sinuses, runny nose, watery eyes, itchiness, among others.
The triggers vary and may include those that can be inhaled such pollen. When you have inhaled allergens, they get into your lungs or get stuck in your throat or nostrils, thus triggering the body to sound an alarm. There are also ingested allergens such as when one is allergic to seafood, peanuts, or soy. Other allergens affect us when we come in contact with them. A good example of this is when one gets in contact with a poison ivy resulting o itchiness and rashes.
When you get yourself tested, you will be able to rule out which possible allergens are you really allergic to. This way, your doctor can give you medication to resolve the problem. You can also avoid these triggers through lifestyle changes.
Before going through an allergy test, your doctor will take your medical history and ask you about your lifestyle, your family history, among others.
The doctor will also advise you to stop taking medications such as OTC antihistamines, some heartburn drugs, some anti-asthma medicines, certain relaxants and antidepressants because they can affect the results of your allergy tests.
There are several methods of allergy testing:
Skin Test. This method of allergy testing can help identify contact allergens, food-related allergens, and airborne allergens too. The allergy specialist can do either a scratch, patch or intradermal test.
In a scratch test, a small amount of liquid carrying an allergen will be placed on your skin while a tool is used to create a small puncture on your skin. Swelling, itchiness, or redness may indicate allergy to whatever allergen was placed on your skin.
There is also intradermal testing which is used in case a scratch test was not able to determine the culprit for your allergies. A small amount of liquid with a specific allergen will be injected just underneath your skin and you will be monitored for adverse reactions.
Patches are another way to deliver allergens onto your body for testing. You need to keep the patches on your skin for 48 hours before they are reviewed for reactions. The doctor will also check after a 72 and 96-hour interval.
Blood Tests. If you are at risk of getting severe allergic reaction to skin tests, you can go for a blood test. You can do this at a laboratory where they will draw blood from you and test the specimen for specific allergens.
Elimination Diet. If food is causing your allergy, the doctor may guide you through elimination diet to determine which causes the reaction. You will be removing food from your diet and reintroduce them again to see if it triggers the allergic reaction.
Allergy tests are very safe but just in case there’s an adverse reaction after leaving the doctor’s office, make sure to immediately seek medical help or call emergency services.
Before going for an allergy test, make sure you know what is involved in allergy tests. Our team at allergytests.co knows how they are done, the difference between the different kinds of tests, among other nice information you need to know.