Do you have some sort of allergies?
If you do, then you are not alone my friend. Many people across the globe have allergy symptoms. They try different medications and testing to get rid of different types of allergies.
According to research conducted by health experts, over 50 million people in the United States go through allergies. That sounds horrible, right?
There are likely to be different reasons causing allergic reactions. If you are going through a specific type of allergy, then you should look for the perfect testing. An effective treatment is possible only when your allergy is identified correctly.
You might have heard that allergy tests cause a lot of pain, which is not true at all. Millions of people in the states get their symptoms treated after valid identification through tests. You are not supposed to look for treatment without knowing what is making your condition worse.
Before we move on to types of allergy testing, let’s understand allergies first.
What are Allergies
The human body has an immune system which can also be referred to as a defensive system of the body. It has an important role. The system protects our internal organs from damaging elements, germs, and cell transformations.
You might be wondering what an immune system has to do with allergies, right?
They are both connected. When our immune system reacts to specific triggers, it causes allergies. Allergens vary from person to person. Some of the most common types of allergens include pollen, mould, dog hair, dust mites, and cat hair,
Sometimes seasonal allergies cause a person to feel diseased. Spring brings a wide array of allergies that cause watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing.
A lot of people have food allergies. Their immune system reacts when a certain type of food enters their body. In most cases, people are allergic to food items such as tree nuts, eggs, wheat, milk, fish, soy, and peanuts. There are likely to be many more food types that can cause allergies to people.
Why You Need Allergy Testing
If your body reacts to certain weather conditions or food, then you should go for allergy testing. Sometimes people can detect their allergens through an elimination test. You won’t have to visit a doctor or a medical facility.
Not sure what the elimination test is?
In most cases, people know what makes them feel ill. For instance, if you are going through watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing in the pollen season, then you are likely to be allergic to pollen. If you eliminate going out for a couple of days, you can experience improved health conditions. If that’s the case, you should avoid going out unnecessarily during peak season. If you have to go out for some reason, take precautionary measures. Wear a mask and take anti-allergic tablets as per the advice of your doctor.
Likewise, if eating dairy makes you feel congested, then you are likely to have a milk allergy. Eliminate dairy items from your food for a few days. See if you observe improved results. If you do, then visit your doctor and stop using allergens. Stuff like butter, cheese, yoghurtbefore, and other similar edibles can worsen your health conditions.
In either case, don’t forget to visit an allergy specialist. Tell them about your symptoms and allergens so that they can better recommend medication alongside other important precautions.
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There could be instances when you can’t figure out what makes you feel bad. If that’s the case, you need to undergo allergy testing.
Types of Allergy Testing
Generally, allergy testing is done through blood tests and skin tests. Both types of methods have been great in detecting different types of allergies.
Aside from the above two, there are a few other kinds of allergy tests that allergists recommend depending upon the condition of the patient. Let’s briefly discuss each type so that you can have a better understanding.
- Skin Testing
This is the most common type of testing when it comes to detecting allergies such as seasonal allergies, medicine allergies, insect allergies, pet allergies, and food allergies. In this method, the laboratory technician puts the alleged allergen on the patient’s skin and checks the results after fifteen minutes.
Skin testing can be divided further into two prominent categories:
Allergists use a small needle to put solutions containing allergens underneath the skin of a patient. You don’t have to wait long to get the results. They should be available in just fifteen minutes.
The allergist uses a prick device to place solutions containing allergens on the skin of a patient. Just like the above test, you can get the results after fifteen minutes.
You cannot opt for any of the above two types. Your allergist will decide which test is perfect for your type of allergy.
You should stop using antihistamines at least five days before your allergy test appointment. Studies have shown that taking antihistamines has an impact on test results. So, you should not take such drugs prior to allergy skin testing.
- Allergy Blood Testing
Also known as lgE and RAST, allergy blood tests are required to diagnose the type of allergy in some patients. Allergists conduct these tests for the perfect evaluation of allergies.
There could be other reasons that force allergists to prefer blood testing over skin testing. In a few patients, skin testing is not a viable option. That’s the reason why allergists recommend blood testing. Here are the possible conditions under which you will undergo blood testing:
- The patient is already diagnosed with dermatographism
- The patient can’t stop using antihistamines before skin testing
- Patients have skin lesions or rashes that might affect test results
If you have any of the above conditions and still want to undergo allergy testing, then blood tests are recommended.
Allergists have also found blood testing effective in detecting immune disorders such as chronic urticaria, angioedema, and immunodeficiency.
- Medication Testing
This sort of testing is performed to check drug allergies in selected patients. The allergist will observe the results after giving an increased dose of a suspected drug. They keep giving you the same drug with increased dose and keep you under observation during the entire process.
You are not allowed to do this alone. Make sure your doctor is observing the results and the entire testing process. The allergist will examine how an increased dose of a specific medicine affects your body. You can avoid taking a certain type of medicine if they find it reacting to your immune system adversely.
- Food Testing
Do you experience any difficulty in breathing after eating specific food? Symptoms could be different in different patients. Some may experience acidity or severe allergy to the skin. In food testing, the allergist tests your immune system to react against different types of foods.
Starting with a small dose of the suspected food, you will be given an increased dose over time. They will keep you under observation throughout the entire testing process. They may request you to keep eating specific food items even after the final dose. Remember, all sorts of food tests are conducted by a physician. So, it’s better to consult your allergist first.
- Lung Function Testing
Another way to diagnose your your allergic reaction is to go for spirometry. This particular allergy testing method is used to diagnose health issues associated with asthma patients. Asthma and allergies have never been separate. Studies have shown that most asthma patients have allergies to specific substances.
Spirometry is an effective way to diagnose allergens that cause severe conditions for asthma patients.
Don’t be terrified! It’s not a scary test that you might have to experience.
In Spirometry, you will have to inhale deeply and then instantly exhale forcefully using a mouthpiece. An allergist can ask you to repeat the same thing at least three times before they can generate a report.
A spirometer is used to determine the functioning of your lungs, and that’s the reason why this process is termed spirometry.
- Patch Testing
Those who show symptoms of contact dermatitis have to undergo a patch testing process. If you observe rashes on skin after utilizing a specific skincare product or wearing jewellery, then you are the one who develops contact dermatitis.
Patches are applied to your body and left there for about 48 hours. Usually, it takes from 2 to 5 days for results to appear. In rare cases, results can also take up to ten days.
Don’t be in direct contact with moisture or water, especially in areas where the allergist places patches.
- Aspirin Desensitization
Formerly recognized as Samter’s triad, AERD is a specific disease found in some patients. Those who have this sort of illness are tested for allergies using Aspirin Desensitization.
This particular testing process is effective to diagnose nasal polyps, asthma, sinusitis, rhinitis, and other chronic respiratory illnesses. The test involves studying one’s reaction to aspirin. Starting from a low dose, patients are given an increased amount of dosage to evaluate better results.