Having allergies is your body’s immune system reaction to a substance you inhaled, touched or ate. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies and these antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. These reactions can range from annoying sneezing and sniffling to a life-threatening response called anaphylaxis.
More than 50 million people in the United States have allergies. Finding out what you are allergic to is an important first step to effective allergy treatment. Today allergy tests are more convenient and accurate than ever before. When combined with a detailed medical history, allergy testing can identify the specific things that trigger your allergic reactions.
Are there any allergy testing side effects?
Any medical test involves some risk. The risk with allergy skin tests is that allergy symptoms might occur during the test. The most common symptoms are itching and swelling of the skin where the tests are. In rare cases, a more serious reaction can occur. That is why skin tests should be done by a specialist.
What about allergy testing in children? Who can be tested for allergies?
Adults and children of any age can be tested for allergies, and since Dr. Cartwright treats patients of all ages he is able to handle children as well as adults.
How is allergy testing done?
Allergy testing can be done as skin tests or as blood tests, and Dr. Cartwright test for allergies using skin tests.
How do allergy skin tests work?
There are two types of skin tests. During the first type of skin test, a drop of a suspected allergen is scratched on the surface of the skin. The test is performed on the back or forearm. Many suspected allergens are tested at the same time. If you are allergic to one of the tests, you will have redness and swelling at the test spot.
How long does it take to get skin test results?
Skin testing is fast. For both types of skin tests, positive reactions usually appear within 20 minutes. Sometimes redness and swelling can occur several hours after skin testing. The delayed reaction usually disappears in 24 to 48 hours, but should be reported to the allergy doctor or nurse.