If you’ve tried over-the-counter medications for allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, postnasal drip, coughing, hives, itching, a skin rash, etc. and they haven’t helped… it may be time to get an allergy test. Information from allergy tests may help your doctor develop an allergy treatment plan that includes allergen avoidance, medications or allergy shots or drops (immunotherapy).
Allergy skin testing is widely used to help diagnose allergic conditions, including:
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- Allergic asthma
- Dermatitis (eczema)
- Food allergies
- Penicillin allergy
- Bee venom allergy
Skin tests are generally safe for adults and children of all ages, including infants.
Although you may find over the counter allergy kits and free screenings advertised on-line, these are typically unreliable tests and can give results that are difficult to interpret. We recommend that individuals begin with a comprehensive evaluation by an ENT or Allergy Specialist prior to any allergy test.
Why do I need to see an ENT or Allergy Specialist?
Board-certified Allergy and ENT physicians are specialists trained to help you take control of your allergies and asthma, so you can live the life you want. They understand the ins and outs of allergy testing and oversee what happens during and after test sample analysis. These skills are important because there are many variables that affect allergy test results. If these nuances are missed or wrongly interpreted by physicians who do not specialize in allergies and asthma, you may not get the best treatment to relieve your symptoms. Along with your medical history, allergy tests may be able to confirm whether a particular substance you touch, breathe, or eat is causing symptoms.
The “free” screenings and over-the-counter test kits may give false positives or incorrect results. If this happens, you may unnecessarily end up eliminating something from your life – i.e. certain food, a pet, etc.
What types of Allergy Tests are there?
Skin tests are the easiest and most common Allergy Test. Skin tests for allergic disorders have been used successfully for more than 100 years. Today, prick or puncture tests are commonly used by allergists as diagnostic aids. These tests are not very invasive and, for most allergens, they tend to produce quick results. If the results of prick or puncture tests are negative, they may be followed by intradermal tests, which give doctors more details about what’s causing the underlying symptoms. Skin testing is usually done at a doctor’s office. A nurse generally administers the test, and a doctor interprets the results. Typically done on your arm or back; allergy triggers are applied directly to the skin or the skin is pricked by a needle that contains the trigger. Allergic reactions will appear as itchy red marks or bumps at the site.
Blood tests are typically used to test for allergies when an individual has a rash, or when a skin test would case too much of a reaction. In addition, blood tests may also be used to confirm skin test results.
All skin tests should be only administered by a medical professional.
We offer allergy testing in all locations. Patients are evaluated by a provider before testing to be sure the appropriate tests are done and any necessary treatment is provided. Allergy testing is a process that may require one or more visits depending on the clinical situation. Same-day appointments are available to begin the process.
As leaders and innovators in allergy testing and treatment, we have participated in the development and FDA trials of many new methods for each, and have the most experience in sublingual immunotherapy of any practice in the region.
The information contained here is not a substitute for speaking with a trained medical professional. Schedule an appointment today.