If you have frequent allergy symptoms and you can't figure out what's causing them so you can avoid your triggers, talk to your doctor about having allergy skin testing done. This procedure can test you for many allergens at once, and you'll learn a great deal about the things that give you allergy symptoms. Here's what you should know.
You'll Probably See An Allergist
Your primary care doctor can send you to an allergist to have skin testing done. The allergist will evaluate your condition and then study the results of your test to determine the best way to treat your symptoms. Although avoidance is key, you may not be able to avoid all of your symptoms, so knowing if your exposure is mainly seasonal or year-round helps your doctor plan the best treatment for you.
Allergy Skin Testing Is Safe
You'll usually stay for a while in the doctor's office to make sure you're not going to have a strong reaction. If you're allergic to a substance, the results are usually seen within minutes. This allows the doctor to get quick results and also keep an eye out for an unexpected severe reaction that can be treated quickly while you're still in the doctor's office.
The Skin Test Involves Pricking Your Skin
It only takes a tiny amount of an allergen to produce a result. The doctor looks for a tiny red swollen area where your skin is pricked. They can then match the red area to the needle that made the prick to determine which allergen caused your reaction. You may only react to a single substance, but you might react to several.
Allergy Skin Testing Checks Many Allergens At Once
The pricks aren't very painful since they only scratch the surface of your skin and they aren't deep injections. The pricks are small so your doctor is able to check for dozens of allergens with each test. They'll probably do the skin test on your arm, but they might use your back if necessary.
Follow-Up Testing Might Be Needed
If your doctor suspects you're allergic to a specific substance but the skin test comes back negative, they might follow up by injecting the allergen under your skin and watch for a reaction. Also, skin testing isn't for food allergies, so if your doctor suspects you're allergic to food, they may need to do other types of testing including blood tests.
Once your skin test is complete, your doctor lets you know your allergens so you can avoid as many as you can. They may also prescribe allergy medication or recommend an over-the-counter product that will control your symptoms so you finally get relief from your allergies.
To learn more, contact a company like Allergy and Asthma Care of Blakeney PLLC: Steven McEldowney, MD.