The Benefits of Allergy Testing
Allergy testing can benefit patients with mild to life-threatening symptoms. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, over 50 million Americans have some type of allergy. Many will deal with annoying, but not life-threatening, environmental allergies such as pollen and mold in the spring and fall, while others will spend their lives avoiding the proteins of cow's milk, bee stings, or shellfish.
Who should be tested for allergies?
Allergy testing can be time-consuming, and it is not always covered by health insurance. There are a few reasons to suspect allergy as the cause of symptoms and certain situations in which a patient should definitely be tested for allergies by a qualified practitioner. Consider the two situations below and contact a doctor if you fall into one of these categories.
Patients who have had a serious allergic reaction
Anaphylactic shock, which is a serious and sometimes fatal reaction to an allergenic protein in food, insect stings, or rarely, environmental allergies, is not always easy to detect. Symptoms such as swollen airways, shallow breathing, and shock can be mistaken for a panic attack or another medical condition while swelling of the lips, hives, and rashes may immediately indicate an allergy.
An experienced doctor will be able to discern whether these troubling symptoms were caused by an allergen or if there is have another explanation. Allergy testing is a must for patients suspected of anaphylactic shock or any other serious allergic-like reaction.
Patients who suspect they have allergies
Patients who wish to find a new way to treat allergy symptoms when their over-the-counter medicines are no longer working can benefit from testing. Those who wish to determine whether symptoms are the result of an allergy to something in their homes, such as animal dander, are also great candidates for allergy testing.
What types of allergy testing are there?
A practitioner may have a good idea of what is causing the patient's symptoms based on the initial evaluation. For example, if a patient ate shrimp for the first time and went into shock, testing for the top eight food allergens may be all that is needed to confirm this allergy. On the other hand, another patient's symptoms may be a mystery to the patient and the doctor. Below are the most common types of testing:
- Skin testing: The doctor will prick the skin of the patient (usually on the patient's back) with a small drop of a serum that contains the allergen. Injections of allergenic substances such as molds are also used to pinpoint exactly what the patient is reacting to.
- Blood testing: A single blood sample is all that is needed for an allergy blood test. Many practitioners do not consider blood tests to be as accurate as skin testing, while others favor these simple tests.
- Challenge testing: An allergy challenge should only be performed under the close supervision of the practitioner who is treating the patient. This test may be performed to rule out a food allergen if tests were inconclusive.
Allergies are often mild annoyances, but at times, symptoms can be life-threatening. Get in touch with a board-certified physician today to begin allergy testing and start feeling better as fast as possible.
Call or visit our Houston clinic to set up an allergy testing appointment. We will be able to diagnose and treat your seasonal and perennial allergies after performing an evaluation.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Allergy Testing in Houston, TX.
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