More than 50 million Americans experience all types of allergies, and the number keeps increasing over time. In other terms, 1 in 6 people have allergies, including food and drug, latex, insect, or outdoor ones. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. If they aren’t properly treated, these reactions can even be fatal. If you have recurring allergy symptoms and no over- the-counter drugs relieve them, we recommend getting an allergy skin test. There are multiple tests you can take and each will determine what you are allergic to. From there, we can devise a plan to keep you happy and your immune system strong.
What Is an Allergy?
When your body reacts to a foreign substance, such as bee venom or pet dander, that other people’s bodies don’t react to, you are experiencing an allergy. Sometimes, your immune system produces antibodies that believe certain substances are harmful, when they aren’t. These substances are known as allergens. When you come into contact with an allergen, your immune system reacts. This can cause symptoms such as irritated skin or sneezing, or even anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening.
People have different allergic reactions. They range from mild to severe, depending on your immune system. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Swelling (lips, tongue, face, throat)
- Watery, swollen, or red eyes
- Itchy nose, eyes, or roof of mouth
- Cough wheezing, chest tightness
- Tingling in the mouth
If you commonly experience any of these symptoms, we recommend speaking with your primary doctor about getting an allergy skin test.
What Does an Allergy Skin Test Consist of?
There are three main ways to get allergens to react with your skin: intradermal, patch, or scratch tests. These tests use extracts, or concentrated liquid forms, of common allergens and get them to react with your skin. If you are allergic to any of them, they might trigger a rash or another reaction.
A doctor or nurse will clean the skin on your forearm or back with alcohol. Then, they will inject a small amount of allergen under your skin. You will wait approximately 25 minutes to see how your skin reacts.
Your family physician or nurse will place a patch on your skin with the allergen attached to it. This patch goes on your arm or back as well. You will need to wear this patch for 48 hours, since you might have a delayed reaction to the allergen.
After cleaning the skin on your arm and back, the doctor or nurse will mark and label areas on your skin with a pen. Then, they will place a drop of allergen on those spots and scratch the outer layer of your skin to let it in.
Family Physicians at MD365™
Schedule your allergy skin test with our family physicians at MD365™. Our team of talented and kindhearted physicians provides the best healthcare around. We offer treatment for a broad range of in-office and remote patient monitoring and management for a variety of conditions. Our family physicians are committed to helping your health improve and supporting a healthy lifestyle. Get in touch with us today, and let’s build your defenses!