Allergy Testing: Understand Your Unique Allergy Profile
Allergy testing is used to evaluate your body’s reaction to specific allergens which can help identify the exact cause of your symptoms. There are two common forms of allergy testing that include:
Skin Prick Testing
Skin prick testing is the most common form of allergy testing because it works quickly and gives the allergist a good understanding of the type of reaction you have. It can show the presence of an allergy as well as the severity of that allergy.
Testing is normally administered on the arm, but it can be moved based on the patient’s preference or age. It’s not considered a painful test and is compared to a fingernail scratch.
During the test, several allergens will be administered to the skin in marked locations. The allergist will also use a control prick to compare the severity of the reactions. Each allergen introduced to your skin will react differently, giving the allergist a clear picture.
The test is highly accurate and will allow the allergist to give you a good diagnosis and treatment plan.
Intradermal Skin Testing
Another form of skin prick testing, intradermal testing is used for certain allergens that won’t show a reaction on the skin’s surface. Instead, a small amount of the allergen being tested is injected just below the skin. You may feel a short period of mild discomfort.
The test is just as safe as skin prick testing and is done with close monitoring to ensure comfort. Allergens that may require intradermal testing include:
- Medication allergies (Penicillin, Ibuprofen, etc)
- Insect Venom (Wasps, Hornets, etc)
Blood testing isn’t as common as skin prick testing, but it’s often utilized in specific situations. A blood test may be required if:
- Your allergic reactions are severe - If you suffer from severe allergies or anaphylaxis, skin testing may be too dangerous. Blood testing is a safe alternative.
- You have certain skin conditions - Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can interfere with the test and make an accurate reading difficult to get.
- If your medication will react with testing - Some medications can interfere with a skin test. Your physician may be able to pause your medication to perform the skin test, but if this can’t be done, a blood test may be done instead.
The Risk of Getting Allergy Testing Outside the ENT’s Office
Recently, there has been a surge of allergy testing facilities popping up around the country. These places can successfully test you for allergies, but they may not be the best for getting a fully comprehensive sinus exam.
At Tampa Bay Breathe Free, we can perform allergy testing in conjunction with a physical sinus examination to rule out any other sinus conditions. We have the experience to diagnose all sinus conditions and help you form a treatment plan that meets your needs.
Common Allergy Treatments
For the best allergy treatment plan, you need to consider if the treatment plan meets all of your needs. Some common allergy treatments that we often include in our patient’s treatment plans include:
Over the counter medications are good in a pinch and can help ease symptoms, but they won’t provide long-term relief.
Allergy immunotherapy, or allergy drops, can help you get long-term relief from your painful allergy symptoms. During immunotherapy, your body is slowly introduced to your allergen to retrain your immune system.