Allergy Testing Specialist Q&A
At Southern ENT Associates, our team of certified professionals is able to get you the allergy testing to identify, confirm, and treat your unique condition. Contact us today for more information about our allergy services or book an appointment if you’re ready to see one of our knowledgeable specialists. We have convenient locations to serve you in Thibodaux LA, Houma LA, Raceland LA, Morgan City LA, New Iberia LA, and Youngsville LA.
Table of Contents:
What is allergy testing?
What are the different types of allergy testing?
Why do doctors recommend allergy testing?
How do you test for allergies?
Allergies are disruptive, and potentially life-threatening, conditions for many people all over the world. If you’ve noticed that certain stimuli trigger a bad reaction in your body, identifying what you’re sensitive to is the first step toward addressing the issue. This is where a medical examination called ‘allergy testing’ comes into play.
Allergy testing is where your skin is exposed to different substances, known as allergens that may trigger a severe immune response (also known as an allergic reaction). When paired with an examination of your medical history, allergy tests are often able to confirm which substances are causing you to have negative reactions.
Allergy tests are medical procedures performed to measure the body’s immune response to specific allergy triggers (also known as allergens). If you have an allergy, your immune system overreacts and produces an abundance of chemicals that trigger an allergic reaction. Healthcare providers perform allergy tests to determine what substance, in particular, is causing your immune system to react excessively.
Substances that trigger allergic reactions are many and varied. The most common allergens are mold, pollen, pet dander, bug bites, latex, and food-related allergens (such as milk, soy, and peanuts).
There are many different ways to test for allergies and your healthcare provider will help you select the one that is best for your symptoms, current medical conditions, and any other personal and medical considerations. Allergy tests include:
• Scratch test. In this procedure, your healthcare provider uses a thin needle containing a suspected allergen to gently prick the skin on your back or forearm. This process often utilizes 10 to 50 potential allergens and results can usually be seen within 15 minutes. This test primarily checks for airborne allergies, food allergies, and certain medical allergies.
• Intradermal skin test. If your scratch test comes back negative or inconclusive, this type of test will often be offered next. During this procedure, your doctor injects a small amount of the suspected allergen into the epidermis layer of the skin and monitors for a reaction. This test identified allergies that may be caused by airborne irritants, medications, and bug bites/stings.
• Patch test. This test is used to identify the cause of any contact dermatitis you may be experiencing. Drops of an allergen are placed onto the skin of your arm and the area is then wrapped with a bandage. You’ll be expected to leave the bandage off for 48 to 96 hours and then return to your doctor once that time is up. They’ll then check your skin for symptoms, such as a rash.
• Blood (IgE) test. During this procedure, your blood is drawn and sent to a lab for analysis. The clinicians will add allergens to your blood sample, measuring the levels of IgE antibodies that occur as a result.
• Challenge tests. This test requires direct supervision from your provider as it requires you to inject a small amount of a suspected allergen so that your response can be observed. These tests are often performed by a highly trained allergist who can help prevent or divert any severe negative reactions, such as anaphylaxis.
Doctors will often recommend allergy testing because they suspect that you have allergies or you are showing certain symptoms that coincide with those of an allergic reaction. This includes having a severe allergic response known as anaphylaxis, where you develop hives, swelling, and intense difficulty breathing. Your provider may also perform allergy testing on those who have been diagnosed with asthma, as it can identify triggers that may bring on an asthma attack.
Allergies can be diagnosed using a variety of allergy tests, the most common of which is a scratch test. In cases where a scratch test cannot be performed, alternative testing methods will be provided. This may include intradermal skin testing, patch testing, challenge testing, and blood testing.
Your doctor will consider both your medical history and your symptoms to deduce which test will be most effective for your condition.
At Southern ENT Associates, we know that allergies can get in the way of you living the life you want. That’s we’re dedicated to the highest level of care, comfort, and treatment so that you can get back to doing the things that you love. For more information about our allergy testing services, or to book in for an appointment, contact us today! We serve patients from Thibodaux LA, Houma LA, Raceland LA, Morgan City LA, New Iberia LA, Youngsville LA, and surrounding areas!
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