Over 500 million people in the United States experience allergies of some sort. Proper assessment and testing of your symptoms is an important step in creating an effective allergy treatment. The first step is to determine which allergens cause a reaction in a patient is to perform an allergy test. At ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas, we offer both skin testing and intradermal testing to properly diagnose your symptoms. Once we determine the allergies that a patient has we can then provide the most effective treatment.
Skin Prick Test
Their specific allergies
Environmental avoidance of allergies
Medical treatment options
Immunotherapy treatment options including sublingual immunotherapy or injection immunotherapy (Allergy shots)
Intradermal Allergy Testing
Intradermal testing is very similar to the skin prick test. Instead of pricking the surface of the skin, your doctor will inject the allergen right under the skin to form a bubble.
This procedure is comparable to the common tuberculosis test. The intradermal test heightens skin sensitivity, allowing your doctor to notice any allergic reactions. This test is very useful for identifying insect sting allergies that are often accompanied with breathing issues in an estimated 13 million Americans. As this test is could provide some discomfort, we only perform this test on adults, or when tolerable for children and young adults.
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Once our team has a proper diagnosis of the allergies a patient as we can discuss treatment. We offer a few different options, allergy shots, and allergy drops being the most popular.
Immunotherapy For allergies
Injections are one type of immunotherapy – It remains the single most effective treatment option. Immunotherapy of this type involves the slow administration of increasing doses of the allergen.
Drops given under the tongue can offer many advantages over allergy shots. First, there are no needles. Allergy drops (also known as sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT) are applied by putting drops of allergen under the tongue. They have the same effect as injection immunotherapy without the needles.
What Can I Expect When I See a Doctor for Allergy Testing?
When you attend your first visit with an allergy specialist, you can expect an in-depth discussion about your family history, your medical history, lifestyle, symptoms, and other important factors that could be contributing to your allergic responses. This initial conversation between you and your doctor is the starting point that could end with you feeling much better during all of the seasons of the year! When discussing your symptoms, be prepared to tell your doctor how often they occur, what instigates them, and how severely you react to suspected allergens, such as pollen or your friend’s dog. After talking with you about your symptoms, your doctor may recommend allergy testing as it pertains to your specific situation.
Why Are Allergy Skin Tests Done?
Allergy tests are paramount to the success of your treatment plan. They lay the foundation for your treatment by identifying what your body is responding to with allergic symptoms. There are several different ways to test for allergies. Skin tests are often used to diagnose conditions like:
- Hay fever
- Dermatitis (eczema)
- Allergic asthma
- Bee sting allergy
- Food allergies
Is Allergy Skin Testing Right for Everyone Who Shows Signs of Allergies?
Skin tests for allergies are generally considered safe for people of all ages. Even infants can receive skin testing without significant concerns related to side effects or complications. That said, your doctor may advise against skin testing in the following circumstances:
- Have a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).
- Are currently taking an anti-depressant medication, heartburn medication, or an antihistamine. These types of medication can interfere with the accuracy of your skin test so would need to be stopped beforehand.
- Have a dermatologic condition such as psoriasis or eczema on your back or arms. These are the normal testing sites, and it is necessary to have a fair amount of clear skin to achieve accurate results.
If you are not a good candidate for allergy skin testing, your doctor may recommend a different approach, such as blood testing.
How Often Do I Need to Have Allergy Skin Testing Done?
When you meet with your doctor to discuss the results of your allergy skin test and treatment plan, you can expect to also discuss the frequency of future skin tests. These tests aren’t used only to determine what you are allergic to but can also provide a measure of the success of your treatment plan. Your doctor may suggest that you return about every two years for subsequent skin tests. Conversely, you may be advised to return for allergy testing only if you develop symptoms. Once you know your allergies and how to manage them, you and your care team will meet periodically to ensure you maintain consistently good effects through your ongoing treatment.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more please call (972) 984-1050 to schedule a consultation at The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas.