The only way to treat your allergy symptoms is to determine exactly what is causing them. This is done through a series of allergy tests.
Skin Prick Test
A skin prick test is the most common form of allergy testing. This test involves placing a small drop of an allergen extract on your skin. A needle is then used to prick the skin underneath the drop; this allows for a small amount of solution to enter just below the surface of the skin. After 15 minutes any swelling or redness is measured and, depending on the size, is considered a positive reaction. An intradermal skin test may or may not be completed next. An intradermal wheal, or bleb, is injected directly under the top layer of skin. After 15 minutes any reactions are measured and classified as either positive or negative.
A blood test is used to measure how much of an allergen-specific antibody, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), is in your blood. The more allergen specific IgE in your blood, the more likely you are to be allergic. Blood tests are typically used to confirm the results of a skin test; they may also be used in lieu of skin tests if a serious allergy makes skin testing unsafe.
Food allergies may be tested with a simple blood draw. An elimination diet involves removing the food in question from your diet for two to four weeks. If your symptoms resolve, there is a good chance the food was causing the reaction. Your doctor may return the problematic food to your diet, just to make sure the symptoms return.
Oral Food Challenge
An oral food challenge will be performed in order to rule out a food allergy. This test takes place in the clinic where you will be under constant medical supervision. This ensures if you do experience an allergic reaction, it can be treated immediately. During an oral food challenge, the food in question is ingested in small amounts and the challenge is stopped at the first sign of a reaction. After a few hours, if no reaction has occurred, an allergy is ruled out.
Skin Patch Testing
If the allergic reaction to a substance is believed to be topical, a skin patch test will be performed to diagnose contact dermatitis. A small patch that has been treated with drops containing the suspected allergen is taped to your skin and left in place for 24 to 72 hours. Any
red or itchy areas are measured afterward; this reaction indicates an allergy.
In order to determine the exact cause of your symptoms, your allergist will need to complete a series of tests. Don’t wait to seek help; contact our office at (916) 736-6644 to schedule an appointment.
Call The Allergy Center at Sacramento Ear, Nose & Throat at (916) 736-6644 for more information or to schedule an appointment.