More than 50 million people in the United States have allergies. Finding out what you are allergic to is an important first step to effective allergy treatment.
Today, allergy tests are more convenient and accurate than ever before. When combined with a detailed medical history, our team at Allergy & Asthma Center can identify the specific things that trigger your allergic reactions.
If you’re ready for relief from your allergies, schedule an appointment with us today.
Allergy testing can be done as skin tests or as blood tests, and there are two types of skin tests we can perform. During the first type of skin test, a drop of a suspected allergen is pricked or scratched on the surface of your back or forearm. We’ll test for many suspected allergens at the same time. If you are allergic to one of the tests, you will have redness and swelling at the test spot. Sometimes the doctor will recommend a second type of test. In this type, a small amount of the suspected allergen is injected into the skin of your arm or forearm, also testing for a few suspected allergens at once.
Skin testing is fast. For both types of skin tests, positive reactions usually appear within 20 minutes. Sometimes redness and swelling can occur several hours after skin testing. This usually disappears in 24 to 48 hours, but if you do have a delayed reaction, it’s important to report it to your doctor.
When deciding where to get tested for food allergies, drug allergies, and environmental allergies, it’s important to look for a certified allergy specialist. These specialists are trained in the best methods for not only testing, but treating allergies if the tests come up positive.
Any medical test involves some risk. In some patients, allergy symptoms might occur during the test. The most common symptoms are itching and swelling of the skin where the test was done. In rare cases, a more serious reaction can occur. With blood tests, you may experience pain or bleeding at the needle mark. Certain patients may also feel faint after having blood drawn. All of these potential side-effects are why it’s so important to have your allergy testing done by a specialist.
Adults and children of any age can be tested for allergies. In fact, the sooner a child is tested, the sooner lifestyle changes can be made and routines can be adopted for accommodating the allergy throughout that child’s life.
An oral food challenge (OFC) is a type of challenge test where a patient is given food or the suspected allergen under medical supervision to see if there is any type of allergic reaction. If no reaction occurs, your doctor will give you a slightly larger amount of the food to see if that triggers a reaction.
During a challenge test, your allergist will give you the suspected food or drug in measured doses. The doses start small at first and get larger if there aren’t any symptoms of an allergic reaction. If you don’t have any reaction to any portion of the food or drug being tested, it’s safe to say you don’t have an allergy to whatever is being tested. If you do begin to show symptoms, the challenge test will be stopped, and your allergist will confirm that you have an allergy. The allergist will also tell you how to move forward and avoid the food or drug that causes an allergic reaction. If necessary, we’ll also prescribe any medications you may need.
Challenge testing usually comes with little risk and very rarely does a patient have a severe allergic reaction. If you have any type of allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis (throat swelling), your allergist will provide immediate medical treatment.
After the test is over, your allergist from the Allergy & Asthma Center will inform you of your results and discuss your treatment plan with you.