If you are suffering from allergy symptoms – nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery red eyes, ear congestion, a cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and eczema – the first step to treating them is identifying your personal allergy triggers. To identify them accurately, get an allergy skin test by a board-certified allergist. In one appointment with the allergist, your triggers will be identified, and a treatment plan – which might just come down to making a few changes in your home environment – will be discussed.
No needles are used to test for allergens such as grasses, trees, weeds, mold, dust mites, and foods. To determine your allergies, the allergist will first take an extensive medical and environmental history to help determine your personalized skin testing panel. An effective testing panel can typically consist of 48 to 68 allergens. Then, your skin (usually your back) will be brushed with a tip of a plastic applicator to which a drop of each allergen has been applied. Patients say the procedure either tingles or feels like a tiny scratch; the most common complaint is that their back is itchy.
After the allergen is applied, the results are read in 20 minutes by an allergist. The allergist will examine hives that react on your skin. As the hives develop, this is when you could experience some itching. The size and redness of the hive helps the provider determine which allergens are causing your reaction. After the results of your skin test are documented, lotion will be applied to your skin to alleviate any itching.
The final part of your visit with the allergist is developing a treatment plan. There are three different ways to treat allergies: avoidance, medication, and immunotherapy.
Avoidance is just that – avoiding your allergen! If your allergy skin test shows that you are highly allergic to cats, then don’t bring cats into your household. And for food allergies, avoid the food that causes your reaction. In fact, avoidance is the only option for food allergies. But if you have an inhalant or a stinging insect allergy that you cannot avoid, there is always…
A lot of allergy sufferers have luck with antihistamines. Taking an antihistamine to reduce your symptoms before going outside is a common practice. Talk with your allergist to figure out which medication plan works best for you.
If this still doesn’t work, the surest way to combat your allergies is…
Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots or allergy drops, is the only way to not just stifle your symptoms temporarily, but to suppress your allergies long-term. Small doses of the allergen are put into a vial that is injected into your skin. This builds your immune system’s tolerance to the allergen. Since allergy shots actively build your immunity to your offending allergens, it is the most effective treatment!
You do not need to be experiencing any allergy symptoms at the time of your testing visit to be evaluated for allergies. Our skin testing methods will accurately determine what allergens cause your symptoms even if you are not experiencing the symptoms. In fact, if you are a seasonal allergy sufferer, it is wise to get your treatment plan started before your difficult time of year.
Individuals who suffer long term with allergy symptoms often don’t realize the quality of life they are missing. Once they get treatment, they notice that they can sleep more soundly and breathe more clearly. Allergy treatment is life-changing, and the sooner you get tested, the sooner you can start to feel better.
One visit with the allergist will identify your allergic triggers and develop a treatment plan.
All the physicians of Allergy & Asthma Specialists are board-certified in allergy and clinical immunology. You can easily schedule an appointment at one of eight convenient locations, and we can usually determine the source of your allergies in a single visit using skin testing without the use of needles. To learn more, contact us today at 1-800-86-COUGH, or visit our website with information on the location closest to you.
Schedule an appointment at any of the 8 convenient locations online or call 610-825-5800.
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