Have you ever experienced an unexamined runny nose or scratchy throat? In this COVID landscape, any symptom can be cause for alarm. Fortunately, there is a simple way to determine what the root cause of your allergy symptoms is in the form of an allergy test.
What Is an Allergy Test?
The most common type of allergy tests are skin prick tests and blood tests.
A skin prick test involves placing a small drop of an allergen extract on top of your skin. A thin needle is then used to prick the skin underneath the drop to allow a small amount of that allergen to enter just below the surface of your skin.
After a waiting period of 15 minutes, the size of your reaction if measured. Any swelling or redness is considered a positive reaction, which tells your allergist that you are allergic to the allergen.
If you have a negative reaction, your doctor will order an additional intradermal skin test to be completed next. A small amount of the allergen extract is injected directly under the top layer of skin. Any reaction is measured after 15 minutes.
A blood test is used to measure the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE), an allergen specific antibody, that is present in your blood. The higher your levels of IgE, the more likely you are to be allergic to the substance in question.
Benefits of Allergy Testing
Allergies are becoming more common in urbanized communities. As such, more primary care providers are providing or recommending allergy testing. Below is a look at just some of the benefits you’ll see from scheduling an allergy test.
Eliminate the Guesswork
You spend your time in a lot of different environments, from working in a dusty office to walking around John Chavis Memorial Park where you are exposed to different types of pollens. It can be hard to figure out what is causing or prolonging your allergy symptoms, but allergy testing can help take the guesswork out of the equation. Following a series of allergy tests, you will have a list of exactly what you are allergic to from dust and pollen to animal dander and laundry detergent additives.
Avoid Suspected Allergens
In addition to confirming what is causing your symptoms, an allergy test provides you with information about what you are not allergic to. This is especially helpful if you suspect a beloved pet is contributing to your symptoms, as you want to be sure you are allergic to their dander before finding them another forever home.
Take Control of Your Environment
Once you know what does and does not lead to your allergy symptoms, you can make the required lifestyle changes to help avoid or at least limit your exposure.
To learn more about the benefits or allergy testing or to schedule your own allergy test, contact the experts at Carolina Ear Nose & Throat – Sinus and Allergy Center today.