Think You Got the Allergies? Get an Allergy Test First!
The first important step in battling allergies is finding out what you’re allergic to. Upon the onset of allergy symptoms, head your way to a physician or allergist to identify what triggered the reaction. Allergy Skin Testing is a safe and easy way for them to find out and confirm the allergens that caused the allergic reaction, and it can be performed on both children and adults.
Common allergy symptoms that may need you to get an allergy skin testing include: Itchiness in the eyes, nose, throat, and skin, runny nose, watery eyes, blocked sinuses, coughing, sneezing, hives, eczema, nasal congestion, and anaphylaxis in severe cases.
Through allergy testing, you will be able to find out what particular substances you may be allergic to. Allergens that are used in allergy skin tests include dust mites, pollen, pet dander and hair, insect venom, natural rubber latex, food components, and medications.
There are three kinds of allergy testing performed:
Scratch Test or also known as a prick or puncture test, wherein your doctor will place a drop of various allergens, usually on the forearm or back. A sterile needle is used to prick the skin to introduce the allergen. A reaction or lack thereof will determine if you’re allergic to the substance.
Intradermal Skin Test is similar to the scratch test but instead of pricking the skin, the allergen is injected under the skin using a syringe. Your skin’s reaction to it will determine if you’re allergic to it or not. This method is usually used to test insect venom and medication allergies.
Skin testing results are immediately evaluated as the reactions usually appear within minutes after the test is administered. It is also important to not take any medication before the test as it may interfere with the results.
Is skin testing safe? There may be a mild irritation caused by a positive allergic reaction but it fully safe when done correctly.
When identification of allergens via skin testing is not possible due to several reasons like the patient is suffering a severe skin condition or the patient is under medication -- an Allergy Blood Test can be used instead.
A blood sample is taken and sent to the lab for testing with various allergens. Blood tests may take a few days before results can be derived and it also costs more than skin tests.
A known allergy blood test is the allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood test. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system is subjected to allergens and overreacts to it. The body perceives allergens as a threat and signals the need for protection to our immune system, therefore producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E.
Your test results will identify your allergens so you will know what to avoid in the future. These tests are important for easy allergy management when you are exposed to allergens.