When To Ask For An Allergy Test

Posted on: 12 October 2020

Your nose is clogged, your head pounds, your ears ache, and your eyes water. Allergies can be absolutely debilitating and leave you living life in a fog. Of course, your first reaction is to pick up a package of over-the-counter allergy medicine and pray for relief. For some, the allergies are so bad they must seek relief from a physician and others are bad enough for a trip to the emergency room. Some allergens are easy to identify, while others are hidden under other symptoms. Therefore, when should you seek an allergy test and long-term solutions to increase your quality of life?

How Bad are the Symptoms?

The first question you need to resolve when it comes to treating allergies is how badly they cripple your life. Seasonal allergies, pollen-related, may leave you sniffling and sneezing for a few weeks. However, pet dander, dust, or food allergies can create life-threatening situations. If your symptoms are mild and rarely last more than two weeks, simple allergy medication is likely enough. If you are not finding relief from over-the-counter is not strong enough, a physician can prescribe a combination of medications. These are taken shortly before the season starts and continue until the season ends. If your symptoms are severe or you notice even mild symptoms last for months, it would be a good idea to obtain an allergy test.

Have you Attempted Avoidance?

As mentioned above, sometimes allergens are easy to identify. When you know what you are likely allergic to, you avoid them at all costs. However, if you are noticing that your symptoms are not going away with evasion, further allergy testing is required. When you talk to your physician about your symptoms, discuss not only when they appear, but also what avoidance measures you have tried. For example, if you think it is pet dander, you will avoid owning pets. The allergy tests can be run to determine specific pet dander or pollens you are allergic to. They may find the allergen is something else entirely.

Can Anyone Be Tested?

Allergy tests are a type of skin test and are considered safe for most everyone. However, there are three times you should not have a skin test run. The first time is if you have been taken allergy medication or other prescriptions that will interfere with the test results. Secondly, if your reactions to the allergens result in a life-threatening reaction, you should not have a test run. Finally, people with skin disorders, such as psoriasis or eczema, should not have a skin test. You can still have an allergen panel run; the physician will require a blood sample instead, looking for specific antibodies called IgE. This style of test is often preferred on younger patients, those with darker skin, or anyone who falls into the above three categories.

The most common style of allergy test is the skin prick test, but blood tests are also available. Instead of suffering through the symptoms, consider talking to your family practitioner and your insurance company to find a path for long-term relief. Pediatric allergy testing like at Dino Peds is especially helpful for children.