If you've been struggling with allergy symptoms and you'd like to know what's causing them, talk to an allergist about allergy testing. You may suspect you have certain allergies. For instance, you may start sneezing when you get near a cat, but allergies to pollen, dust mites, and other tiny irritants are more difficult to figure out.
Even if you've had allergy testing in the past, you can talk to your doctor about repeating the tests if enough time has passed and your allergy symptoms have changed. Here's what to expect with allergy testing on your skin.
Prepare Several Days In Advance
Your allergist may ask about your medications and provide a list of medications you need to stop taking if possible about a week before you have testing done. You may need to talk to your family doctor or specialist about stopping your drugs temporarily.
If you need to take them, let the allergist know on the day of your allergy test so they can determine if the testing can be done and if it will be accurate. Your doctor will let you know about any other preparations you need to make, such as avoiding certain foods, so you get the best results on your testing.
Expect To Have Skin Testing Done
Skin testing is the most common allergy test. It can test for a number of allergens at once, and the results are quick. A scratch test is the most common skin test. It involves scratching your skin with a specific allergen and watching for a response. If you have a reaction, the doctor knows you're allergic to that particular allergen.
An intradermal skin test is a little different. With this, the nurse or doctor injects a tiny amount of allergen underneath your skin and waits to see the results. Several substances can be tested at once on your arm or back. This gives your doctor a lot of information about what's causing your allergy symptoms.
Learn About The Results
Your doctor may have you come back on a different day to learn the results of your allergy testing and what to do with the information. You'll be told all of the allergens you tested positive for. This is useful to know since you might be able to avoid many of them and control your symptoms naturally. However, if you can't avoid the allergens and you have severe symptoms, your doctor may discuss allergy shots. If your symptoms are mild, they might be controllable with medications.
Contact a clinic like the Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Fort Worth to learn more.