If you frequently sneeze, develop skin problems, or experience other health issues, you might be suffering from an allergy. In fact, it’s very common to be allergic to pollen, latex, or other common substances. At the Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, Oregon, we can use an allergy skin test to diagnose this health problem and begin the process of treating your allergies.
What Can You Learn From an Allergy Skin Test?
An allergy skin test can be used to diagnose a variety of different allergies. This is a very quick test, and you might receive your results within one hour.
Diagnosing Your Health Problems
This type of test can determine whether you are suffering from common health problems like hay fever, allergic asthma, or eczema. We can also use skin tests to decide whether you are allergic to preservatives, dyes, latex, or insect venom. In addition, we can use this type of test to find out whether you are allergic to specific types of medication.
Beginning Your Treatment
We will use the information that we learned during your allergy skin test to design a suitable allergy treatment plan for you. For example, we may advise you to manage your allergy with medication. Alternatively, you could receive regular shots that will decrease the severity of your symptoms.
What Types of Skin Tests Can I Receive?
We can use several different skin tests to diagnose the cause of your allergic reactions. The skin test that works for you will depend on the type of allergies that we are trying to identify. During your initial consultation, we will discuss your symptoms and identify possible triggers that could be causing you to experience skin issues and other problems. Next, we will select a suitable skin test for you.
Receiving a Skin Prick Test
The skin prick test is one of the most common allergy tests. We can use this type of skin test to identify many different types of allergies during one test session. If you think that you have an allergy to mold, pollen, or dust mites, we may use this test to diagnose your issues. This test can also identify food allergies and allergies to pets.
We will begin by putting histamine onto your skin. We will also apply saline or glycerin to your target area. Next, we will use a sterilized device to place possible allergens onto your skin. If you have an allergy to any of these substances, your skin will probably develop an allergic reaction within about 15 minutes.
Receiving a Patch Test
We can use a patch test to determine whether you are suffering from contact dermatitis. This is a medical condition that causes your skin to become irritated after you are exposed to certain substances. We are likely to use this type of skin test to diagnose allergies to medications, resins, food dyes, latex, and other common substances. We can test 20 to 30 different substances during one patch test.
During a patch test, we will put potential allergens onto patches. We will usually put these patches onto the skin on your arms or back. You need to wear these patches on your skin for about 48 hours. You should not go swimming, take a bath, or perform strenuous physical activities during this time. After 48 hours have passed, you will return to our office so that we can remove your patches and analyze the results of this test.
Receiving a Skin Injection Test
If you think that you are allergic to insect venom or penicillin, you might receive a skin injection test. We will begin your allergy test by using a very fine needle to inject a tiny amount of penicillin or insect venom into your arm. During the next 15 to 20 minutes, we will monitor you closely. If you are allergic to these substances, you may develop a mild allergic reaction.
How Should I Prepare for My Skin Test?
To ensure that you receive accurate results during your skin test, you might need to make some minor adjustments to your typical routine.
Adjusting Your Medications
We may instruct you to avoid taking certain medications before you receive your allergy test. For example, if you take medications to control your allergic symptoms, these medications could alter your body’s response to the allergens that we will use during your test.
To achieve the most accurate results during your skin test, you might have to take a temporary break from using your allergy medications. In addition, we may ask you to avoid taking asthma medications or antidepressants for a short period of time.
Changing Your Skincare Routine
Using harsh skincare products or receiving a new beauty treatment could irritate your skin. This reaction will make it more difficult for us to understand the results of your allergy test. To avoid this issue, you should not use new skincare products or receive a cosmetic treatment before you get your skin test.
Protecting Your Skin
If you develop a sunburn, you might experience discomfort during the testing process. To ensure that your skin stays healthy, you should wear sunscreen and avoid tanning beds.
What Will Happen During My Skin Test?
When you arrive at our office in Tigard, we will begin your test by carefully examining your skin. If you are experiencing an infection or irritation in your target area, we may need to delay your test so that your skin has time to heal.
Performing Your Test
After we have determined that your skin is in good condition, we will administer your test. If you are using a patch test to diagnose your allergies, you’ll need to leave our office and wear your patches for the next 48 hours.
If you are receiving a different type of skin test, you will remain in our office while we observe your skin’s response to your allergy test. After we have recorded our observations, we will use alcohol to gently clean your skin. Cleaning your skin will remove the allergens from this part of your body and help your tissues recover from your allergy test.
Continuing With Your Day
Since we will use a very small amount of allergens during your test, you will feel comfortable while we diagnose your allergies. Once your test is complete, you will be able to continue with the rest of your planned activities for the day.
That said, the skin in your treatment area may be a little sensitive for the next several days. To help your skin heal, you should try to keep this part of your body away from strong sunlight. Your skin is likely to feel completely normal after about three to four days.
How Can I Treat My Allergies?
After you have used a skin test to diagnose your allergies, you can start the process of managing your symptoms and improving your quality of life.
Avoiding Triggering Substances
Avoiding the substances that are causing you to develop skin issues and other problems is one of the best ways to manage your allergies. For example, if your skin test determined that you are allergic to a certain type of food dye, you should avoid consuming items that contain this dye. If you learned that you have an allergy to a specific kind of metal, you will need to stop wearing earrings and other jewelry that is made of this substance.
Medications can also help you control your rashes and other allergy symptoms. After we have diagnosed your allergies, we can recommend specific medications for you.
Receiving Allergen Immunotherapy
Sometimes, you will struggle to avoid the substances that are causing you to experience allergic reactions. For example, if you are diagnosed with a seasonal allergy, you might not be able to stay away from the pollen and other plants that are triggering your allergic reactions. Further, you may want to continue enjoying outdoor activities throughout the year.
We can use allergen immunotherapy to reduce your symptoms. During this type of therapy, we will expose you to a small quality of allergens. We may ask you to take allergy drops. Alternatively, we can administer regular injections that contain these allergens. Over time, this therapy will help your body adjust to these substances. As your body responds to your allergen immunotherapy, the severity of your allergic symptoms will decrease.
Carrying an EpiPen
An EpiPen is a medical device that can be used to administer a dose of epinephrine in an emergency situation. If you have an allergy to food, insect bites, or other substances, we may advise you to carry an EpiPen with you at all times. If you are accidentally exposed to an allergen, this device can be used to temporarily improve your breathing, swelling, and other problems.
Can I Use Other Methods to Diagnose My Allergies?
Although skin tests are very safe and effective, this diagnostic tool isn’t right for everyone. For example, if you have a history of experiencing very severe allergic reactions, you will not be able to receive a skin test. Fortunately, we can use other tests to diagnose your allergies.
The Benefits of a Blood Test
If you cannot receive a skin test, you may benefit from using a blood test to diagnose your allergies. This test may be a good option for you if you have heart issues, asthma, or skin problems. If you cannot take a break from your medications, you should also think about getting this type of allergy test.
This type of test can diagnose many health conditions, including allergies to dust, local weeds, and certain types of food. We can test for many different types of allergies during a single appointment.
Receiving a Blood Test
During this type of allergy test, we will use a small needle to take a sample of your blood. This is a very short process, and you shouldn’t feel nervous before you receive your blood draw. This sample will allow us to determine if you have allergy-specific antibodies in your blood. If we find these antibodies, you will probably be diagnosed with an allergy.
Diagnose Your Allergies
If you have an undiagnosed allergy to dye, latex, or other common environmental substances, you might develop skin problems, nasal issues, and other health challenges. Diagnosing your allergies will help you identify the substances that are causing these problems and begin the process of improving your health. To learn more about using an allergy skin test to diagnose your health issues, contact us at the Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, Oregon.