Although it sounds strange, determining whether someone suffers from allergies requires introducing potential allergens into their system. Doing so may seem dangerous, but doctors have formalized this process into several types of allergy testing. If you receive such a test, expect to experience mild allergic reactions in a controlled environment followed by treatment recommendations from your specialist. To ensure you have a clear grasp of your body’s allergic reactions, seek nearby professional advice and ENT services in the Washington, DC, area.
Below, we outline the critical details of allergy testing:
What Are Allergies?
Allergies occur when an individual’s immune system overreacts to certain substances. If you are allergic to cat hair, for instance, contact with a cat causes your immune system to create specific antibodies. These antibodies release chemicals that inflame your skin, sinuses, and/or airways.
During a typical allergy test, a medical professional introduces common allergens into their patient’s skin. The tester uses minute amounts of the allergens during the test to avoid a major reaction.
What Allergy Tests Involve
There are different ways to test for allergies. At ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery Specialists of Shady Grove, our providers use two main types of allergy tests:
- Skin prick: A medical professional pricks a patient’s forearm or back with a small needle containing an allergen and then observes whether a reaction occurs. These tests usually involve between 10 and 50 substances and can detect airborne allergies.
- Blood test: As its name implies, a blood test involves assessing the reactions of a patient’s blood to the introduction of allergens. However, blood tests have a somewhat high rate of false positives.
While over-the-counter tests exist, you should avoid them. Such tests offer limited functionality and often produce false-positive results, so they tend to be unreliable
What to Do if You Have a Positive Result
If your allergy test comes back positive, your physician may want to confirm their results using another type of test to ensure you have not received a false positive. Then, your physician will recommend treatments to help reduce or even eliminate your symptoms.
Individuals with mild to moderate allergies often have several treatment paths available. The simplest option is avoiding substances that cause reactions. Another is to take allergy medications. Antihistamines, for example, help combat airborne allergens and prevent symptoms like hay fever.
More advanced options include allergy shots or immunotherapy. This treatment decreases the immune system’s response to a specific allergen, thereby preventing reactions. People often seek such shots for protection against pet dander or different types of pollen, and the shots’ efficacy can last many years.
Do You Need an Allergy Test?
A doctor may recommend seeking an allergy test for multiple reasons. If you suffer allergy symptoms but can’t identify the specific cause, the test can pinpoint the allergen producing your reaction. People with asthma also receive tests to determine whether allergy triggers could worsen their condition or cause an asthma attack.
Allergy Testing and Treatment Options Available for Washington, DC, Residents
If you’ve never received an allergy test, or you suffer from allergy symptoms without knowing their cause, reach out to ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery Specialists of Shady Grove. We offer professional allergy testing as well as hearing & ear care, skincare treatment, laser treatment, and more services. Folks throughout the Washington, DC, area turn to our professional team for their needs; now, so can you. Call us today at (301) 679-7192 or book an appointment now!
ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery Specialists of Shady Grove has proudly provided a wide range of ENT services for over 42 years. In addition to general ENT options, we offer facial plastic surgery care, aesthetic services, and audiology & hearing aids. We welcome all patients into our office to experience our state-of-the-art practice with a small-town doctor feel. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (301) 679-7192 today.