What is Allergy Testing?

The following will cover the different types of allergy testing in Ogden and how to prepare for the different test types.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from various allergies in this day and age. It is difficult to treat these people for allergic reactions without knowing the exact cause of their allergies. Finding out the exact cause of your allergy is an important first step to treating the condition. That’s where allergy testing in Ogden, Utah comes in handy. It will help identify the specific things that trigger the allergic reactions in you. This read offers information on allergy testing in Ogden.

Allergy testing involves a skin or blood test to determine the exact cause of your allergy. Although skin and blood tests both are effective in this regard, skin tests are reliable, quick, and less expensive when compared to a blood test.

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Allergy Skin Testing

There are three types of skin tests your Ogden allergist might use: skin prick test, skin patch test, and intradermal test. In fact, a small quantity of the suspicious allergen is kept on your skin to ascertain whether a reaction develops over time. The prick test is performed by placing a drop of the allergen on the skin. A needle prick or series of scratches allow the allergen to penetrate into the skin. If the skin develops a raised red area known as a wheal, the individual is allergic to that particular allergen. The skin patch test is conducted by placing the allergen in a pad and taped to the skin for 72 hours. This test is mostly used to detect contact dermatitis which is a type of skin allergy. On the other hand, the intradermal test is conducted by injecting a small amount of allergen solution into the skin. This test is done when an allergen doesn’t cause any reaction during the skin prick test but is still suspected to be an allergen for that particular individual. Although this test is more sensitive compared to the other two tests, it is more effective in determining the exact allergen that causes the allergy.

Blood Tests

Allergy blood tests are conducted by our skilled allergist in Ogden, Utah to find substances in the blood known as antibodies. These tests are not as sensitive as skin tests. In fact, they are used for people who cannot avail themselves for skin tests. EIA or ELISA or Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay is the most common blood test used in this regard. It measures the level of antibody known as immunoglobulin E or IgE in your blood. In fact, IgE is made in your body as a response to certain allergies. The level of IgE is usually higher in people who suffer from certain allergies and asthma.

Skin tests are done to find out if a person is allergic to airborne allergens such as pollen, shrub, mold, dust, pet dander, and feathers. Food allergens such as nuts, eggs, milk, fish, and shellfish can also be identified through such a test. On the other hand, blood tests are conducted to find out if the patient is allergic to hives and eczema.

Preparing For The Test

Many medications can affect the results of the allergy testing in Ogden. That’s why you need to inform your doctor or allergist in Ogden if you are on any prescribed medications before he/she starts the test. You may have to stop taking some medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants before you prepare for the allergy test. With the skin prick and the intradermal tests, you will feel a slight pricking sensation. If you have an allergic reaction to the substance, there would be an itching, tenderness or swelling in the area where the allergen solution was placed. A nonprescription steroid cream can help relieve the itch and tenderness after the test is completed. When a skin patch test is conducted, you should call your doctor if you notice severe itching or pain under the skin patch. On the other hand, you will feel almost nothing other than the needle puncture from the blood test.

The skin prick and intradermal tests come with a major risk known as anaphylaxis. That’s a severe allergic reaction which includes swelling and itching on the face or entire body of the individual. Also, breathing problems, wheezing, and low blood pressure can also result due to this test. An anaphylactic reaction needs immediate medical intervention since it can be life threatening. On the other hand, you will have very little issues with blood being drawn from your hand. That’s why blood tests are considered safer whne compared to skin allergy tests.

You may not need an allergy test if you are suffering from a mild allergy that can be easily controlled with lifestyle changes and medications. That’s why you need to consult your  doctor, to determine if you really need an allergy test to determine the cause of your allergic reactions. It will help you make the right decision in order to get rid of your allergic reactions.