What is allergy testing? If you are allergic, you are reacting to a particular substance. Any substance that can trigger an allergic reaction iscalled an allergen. To determine which specific substances are triggering your allergies, your allergist/immunologist willsafely and effectively test your skin, or sometimes your blood, using tiny amounts of commonly troublesome allergens. Allergy tests are designed to gather the most specific information possible so your doctor can determine what you areallergic to and provide the best treatment. Who should be tested for allergies? Adults and children of any age who have symptoms that suggest they have an allergic disease. Allergy symptoms caninclude: •Respiratory symptoms: itchy eyes, nose, or throat; nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, chest congestionor wheezing •Skin symptoms: hives, generalized itchiness or atopic dermatitis •Other symptoms: anaphylaxis (severe life-threatening allergic reactions), abdominal symptoms (cramping,diarrhea) consistently following particular foods, stinging insect reactions other than large local swelling at thesting site. Generally, inhaled allergens such as dust mites, tree, grass or weed pollens will produce respiratory symptomsand ingested (food) allergies will produce skin and/or gastrointestinal symptoms or anaphylaxis but both types of allergens(ingested and inhaled) can produce the spectrum of allergy symptoms.What are the reasons for undergoing allergy skin testing? To help you manage your allergy symptoms most effectively, your allergist/immunologist must first determine whatis causing your allergy. For instance, you don't have to get rid of your cat if you are allergic to dust mites but not cats. Allergy tests provide concrete specific information about what you are and are not allergic to. Once you haveidentified the specific allergen(s) causing your symptoms, you and your physician can develop a treatment plan aimed atcontrolling or eliminating your allergy symptoms. With your allergy symptoms under control you should see a considerable
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- Spring '14
- Reaction, Allergy