Allergies are not uncommon. Allergic reactions occur when your body perceives an inert substance as a threat, mounting an immune system attack against it. Allergies often come with itchy eyes, tearfulness, congestion, and hives.
Unexplained allergies can be distressing. Finding the cause of your allergy attacks can help you treat them appropriately. That's where allergy testing services can help. An allergist can perform a scratch test that will help you determine which substances you're allergic to. When you're ready to take an allergy test, you should keep these four things in mind:
1. You will be tested for the most common allergies.
Anything can be a potential allergen, but some allergies are more common than others. For instance, it's common for people to be allergic to dogs, cats, mold, dust, and pollen. You will be tested for the most common allergies during your allergy test. Your doctor will draw a grid on your back or arm. One allergen will be introduced into your system in each grid square. This methodical testing technique will help your doctor figure out which allergens cause your body to react.
2. Your allergy test can give you an idea about the severity of your allergies.
Some allergies are more severe than others. Knowing the severity of your allergies will help you make good decisions regarding medication and management. In general, the severity of your allergy will be indicated by the extent of your body's reaction during the scratch test. More severe allergies will produce larger skin disturbances, such as hives and rashes.
3. You will need to prepare for your allergy test appropriately.
Allergy tests measure your body's histamine response to various substances. Taking antihistamines can interfere with your test results by causing false negatives. If you take antihistamine medication on a regular basis, you should stop taking your medication a few days before your test. Arrive at the clinic with clean skin and loose-fitting clothing that can be easily removed or pushed aside to access the test site. Follow all of your allergist's instructions before and during the test.
4. Care will be provided in the unlikely event of an emergency.
Allergy tests are generally safe procedures. Most people do not experience systemic side effects due to a skin allergy test. However, your allergist will be standing by, ready to provide care if an emergency occurs. Anaphylactic shock will be treated with an epinephrine injection that will clear your airways.