More than 50 million people in the United States have allergies. Finding out what you are allergic to is an important first step to effective allergy treatment. Allergy testing is used to determine the cause for allergic reactions. The results of allergy tests can help your physician develop a treatment plan to manage your allergy symptoms.
What are the benefits of an allergy evaluation?
Many common ear, nose and throat symptoms are caused by allergies. These include problems such as recurring ear infections, sinusitis, postnasal drainage, persistent cough and hoarseness. By determining the specific allergens that are causing the symptoms, our doctors can tailor a treatment plan for each patient.
What types of allergy testing are available?
Allergies can be determined by RAST blood work and by skin testing. The two main types of skin testing are prick testing and intradermal testing. The advantage of prick testing is that it does not require needles and therefore is a good option for pediatric patients. The advantage of intradermal testing is that it may allow more specific determination of the level of allergy sensitivity.
In our state of the art allergy facility, skin testing is the most common method used to diagnose allergies. Our allergists use a combination of prick tests and intradermal tests. Prick tests involve placing a small drop of common allergens on the skin with a small plastic applicator that pricks the skin. Intradermal tests involve injecting a small amount of allergens into the outer layer of the skin.
When a patient is allergic to a substance, redness, itching and swelling will develop at the test site. Allergy skin testing involves minimal discomfort, it usually takes about an hour to complete and the results are available before you leave the office.