Are you constantly suffering from symptoms and signs of allergies but have no idea what you are allergic to? A simple allergy test can offer answers to that itching question!
Allergy testing can be performed two different ways. Skin Testing can be performed on most people and is often the most sensitive testing method. However, some medications and skin disorders may not allow for skin testing. Blood testing offers another option for those patients who are not good candidates for skin allergy testing.
Skin allergy testing is the one of the best and most proven ways to test for allergies. Before testing, you must stop all antihistamines for at least five days prior to testing for accurate results. The testing is performed in two steps. The first step give your doctor qualitative information, telling him/her what allergens you are allergic to; the second step gives you doctor the quantitative information, telling him/her just how allergic you are to that identified allergen.
The first test introduces a small amount of the allergen into your skin with a testing pod. Each pod holds eight allergens, and five pods are used for each patient. That way, forty allergens can be tested in about one minute. Again, this step identifies those allergens that you are allergic to. Next, intra-dermal testing is performed based on the results obtained in step one and will give your physician the information of just how allergic (or to what level/degree) you are to that allergen. This is done by using a tiny needle to introduce a very small amount of the allergen into the top layer of the skin and then measuring the size of the reaction that occurs
A blood test is performed on patients taking a Beta-Blocker for blood pressure or cannot stop taking antihistamines for four to five days. You will be sent to a local laboratory to have your blood drawn to test for a panel of allergens. This process is not as sensitive as the skin testing, but it does offer a nice alternative for a select population of patients.
Both skin and blood allergy testing can identify the things that are causing your allergic symptoms. They can also guide the process that leads to allergy shots, or allergy treatment.
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