Allergy testing and treatment plays a very important role in your care at PDX ENT. Allergies (chronic or even seemingly mild ones) can cause prolonged ear and respiratory illness that can last months, years and even a lifetime. If poorly managed, allergies can lead to more serious problems- including sinusitis, ear infections and bronchitis.
The only way to treat your allergy symptoms is to determine exactly what is causing them. This is done through a series of allergy tests.
What Is a Skin Prick Test?
A skin prick test is the most common form of allergy testing. This test involves placing a small drop of an allergen extract on your skin. After 10 minutes any swelling or redness is measured and, depending on the size, is considered a positive reaction.
An intradermal skin test may be done if the prick test comes back negative and your doctor believes your symptoms indicate a need for further testing or if you have been on immunotherapy in the past.
An intradermal wheal, or bleb, is injected directly under the top layer of skin. After 10 minutes any reactions are measured and classified as either positive or negative.
How Does a Blood Test Work?
A blood test is used to measure how much of an allergen-specific antibody, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), is in your blood. The more allergen specific IgE in your blood, the more likely you are to be allergic. Blood tests are typically used to confirm the results of a skin test; they may also be used in lieu of skin tests if a serious allergy makes skin testing unsafe.
How Are Food Allergies Tested?
Food allergies may be tested with a simple blood draw. An elimination diet involves removing the food in question from your diet for two to four weeks. If your symptoms resolve, there is a good chance the food was causing the reaction. Your doctor may return the problematic food to your diet, just to make sure the symptoms return.
In order to determine the exact cause of your symptoms, your allergist will need to complete a series of tests.
Don’t wait to seek help; contact our office at (503) 222-3638 to schedule an appointment.