If you have a runny nose or watery eyes, it could be a common cold. However, if the condition worsens when you are outside or after eating certain foods, you could have an allergy. Allergies are common in the United States, affecting more than 50 million Americans every year. If you suspect that you are allergic to something, you should visit an allergist for allergy testing.
What is Allergy Testing?
Allergy tests are performed to determine whether your immune system overreacts to specific allergens. In other words, they test if your body has an allergic reaction to certain substances, such as:
- Pet dander
- Some food
You should go for allergy testing if you are experiencing major allergy symptoms. The test is also performed if you have asthma to identify allergy triggers that can worsen your condition.
In other instances, testing is recommended if you experience a severe allergic reaction, commonly known as anaphylaxis. This condition causes swelling, breathing difficulty, or a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Do You Need an Allergy Test?
You need to immediately go for an allergy testing if you experience some of the following symptoms:
- Allergic Rhinitis- These symptoms are experienced in the nasal cavity. They include runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
- Asthma- Sometimes, an allergic reaction may take the form of inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which blocks airflow to the lungs.
- Contact and Atopic Dermatitis- Some allergens can also irritate your skin, causing blisters, burning sensations, hives, swelling, itchy skin, or skin rashes. This allergy is often caused by some foods, insect stings, some medicines, contact with pets, and exposure to certain chemicals.
Why Are Allergy Tests Performed?
The aim of allergy testing is to measure your immune system's response to certain allergens. If you are exposed to an allergy trigger, the body produces antibodies to fight it, leading to an allergic reaction.
If you visit an allergist, you expect the following allergy tests:
- Skin Prick Test- The allergist places droplets of different potential allergens on the skin and observes the reaction.
- Intradermal Skin Test- If the prick test doesn't work, the allergist may inject small amounts of allergens in the epidermis and observes the reaction.
- Blood Test- Samples of your blood are collected and sent to the lab to measure the levels of antibodies produced in response to a certain allergen.
If you suspect that you are allergic to a specific substance, you should go for allergy testing. If the test results are positive, you can minimize exposure, take daily medications, or get allergy shots.Share