What is allergy testing?
Allergy testing is a way to find out if you have a sensitivity to certain substances, called allergens. Common allergens include foods, such as peanuts or chocolate, pollen or dust, or mold.
Examples of what allergies testing can pick up include the following:
- Allergic asthma
- Dermatitis (eczema)
- Food allergies
- Penicillin allergy
- Bee venom allergy
- Latex allergy
Most allergy testing is done through skin pricks, although blood testing is an option, too. But blood testing tends to be more expensive and less sensitive than skin tests.
What steps should I take to prepare for allergy testing?
The first thing you need to do is to see Dr. Rafiq. Before moving forward with testing, he discusses your medical history and conducts a physical exam. He also asks you what medications you take. Some, including antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, and some heartburn medications, can interfere with testing. For that reason, he may ask you to stop taking them about 10 days before testing.
What can I expect during testing?
A skin prick test checks for an immediate reaction to about 40 different allergens. Small needles, called lancets, are used, and they barely penetrate your skin’s surface. That said, you may still feel a small prick or momentary discomfort. The session takes about 40 minutes.
After 15 minutes, a member of Dr. Rafiq’s team checks for signs of a reaction, typically a raised bump that resembles a mosquito bite.
Sometimes a skin patch is also used. This kind of test can pick up delayed allergic reactions.
What kind of follow-up can I expect?
You should get your test results before you leave Dr. Rafiq’s office. Depending on what you’re allergic to, he may prescribe medications or suggest changes to your work or home environment. You may have to change your diet too. The goal is to avoid an allergic reaction in the future.
Allergy testing is an effective tool to reveal any allergies you may have. If you suspect that you have allergies, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rafiq online or by phone. He and his team will design a treatment plan to ease your symptoms.