Allergies affect more than 100 million Americans a year. Allergies symptoms will vary from person to person and may include but are not limited to:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to a substance (allergen) it believes is harmful by releasing histamine. Histamine release results in one or more of the allergy symptoms listed above. Allergy treatments are broken down into immunotherapy, medication and allergen avoidance.
To effectively practice allergen avoidance, you must know which allergens are causing your symptoms. For instance, if you’re allergic to pollen, you may want to avoid Glenn Hilton Park on high-pollen days. Taking an allergy test is the best way to identify which allergens are causing your reaction. Let’s take a closer look at allergy tests.
How Do Allergy Tests Work?
During an allergy test, your provider will expose your skin to different allergens and look for signs of a reaction. During or in the hours following the test, red, swollen and itchy bumps may appear at the site of the allergen exposure. Although rare, severe allergic reactions can occur. Your allergy specialist will provide necessary medical relief if reactions become severe.
What Are the Different Kinds of Tests?
Two common types of allergy tests include:
- A skin prick test. The most common form of allergy testing, skin prick tests, involves placing allergen extract onto your skin, pricking the skin under the drop and allowing the extract to enter below the surface of the skin. Following a 15-minute waiting period, redness and swelling are measured to determine whether a positive reaction has occurred.
- A blood test. Blood tests measure the quantity of allergen-specific antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) in your blood. The higher the amount of IgE, the more likely you are to be allergic to that specific allergen. Blood tests are used to verify the results of a skin prick test.
If unidentified allergies adversely impact your life, schedule an allergy test with Carolina Ear Nose & Throat – Sinus and Allergy Center today. Following a test, we can begin to define a treatment plan.