What To Expect From Allergy Testing

Doctors see a regular influx of patients complaining of allergy symptoms, particularly during times of the year when the pollen count is very high. For these patients, proper treatment can only begin after an allergy test is administered in order to determine the specific substances that are triggering attacks. But with this kind of testing come many questions.

There are several types of test, including a skin prick, intradermal or patch test. Each one involves isolating specific triggers but they can vary as to how quickly results are revealed and how invasive they are. The specific test your doctor chooses for you can depend on many factors, including the symptoms you are experiencing or whether you are on any other medications.

A skin prick is the quickest of all the methods. In this type of test, patches of skin are isolated and marked with a pen and then each patch is pricked with a tiny group of needles that contain a small amount of a particular allergen, such as pet dander or pollen. After the trigger is administered you need to wait for about 15 minutes to see how your skin reacts in order to determine if you are allergic to each particular substance.

As the needles used for a skin prick test are quite small and only administered to the surface layer of skin, it is generally not very painful. The allergic reaction may be irritating but in most cases, it is only temporary and not at all dangerous. To be on the safe side, you are usually advised to remain in the doctor’s office until any effects have materialized, in case further treatment is necessary.

An intradermal test involves the injection of a potential trigger substance just under the skin. This can be slightly more painful than a skin prick, but no worse than your average flu shot or other common injection. Again, you’ll need to wait for about 15 minutes to see if any reaction occurs. As with the skin prick, these reactions are usually mild and will clear up on their own but your doctor can provide you with medication should it be required.

The patch test is the least painful, as it doesn’t include the use of needles at all. In this type of test, a patch containing a small quantity of a potential trigger substance is applied to your arm or back and must remain in place for 48 hours. You can then return to your doctor’s office to determine the results.

In most cases, allergy tests are quick and easy and involve minimal pain. There may be a slight bit of irritation as your body reacts to the various allergens, but once you know for sure what is causing your reaction, you can take steps to reduce and even eliminate symptoms entirely.

Rather than suffer needlessly with seasonal or chronic symptoms, why not take an hour out of your day to be tested and put your mind at ease? Or if you can’t face needles, perhaps you can opt for the patch test and get your answers with no pain at all. It’s the only way to know that you’re addressing the problem correctly, so it’s worth it in the long run.

Wishing you the best of health



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