Getting tested for allergies: It’s important!

You’ve probably noticed that allergy season is upon us. If you’re suffering from sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes, then your immune system is probably hyper-aware of allergy season. But don’t lose hope - an allergy test can get you on the way to feeling better in no time.

Many people with untreated allergy symptoms aren’t aware of how much better they will feel once their symptoms are diagnosed and managed. Our allergist at Arkansas Otolaryngolgy Center will test you to see how your body overreacts in a safe, controlled way. (It’s important that allergy testing is directed by a healthcare professional that has a full understanding of your medical history.)

There are several symptoms and reactions that usually indicate the need for an allergy test:

  1. Respiratory: itchy eyes, nose and throat, coughing, wheezing

  2. Skin: itchiness or eczema or overreaction to insect bites/stings

  3. Abdominal: cramping, vomiting or diarrhea after eating certain foods

  4. Anaphylaxis: a life-threatening reaction that happens to many parts of the body at the same time

There are a few ways to conduct an allergy test and your allergist can help you find the best option:

  • Skin tests - These are the most common and often result in very mild reactions, often just a little bit of swelling that can appear within 20 minutes. Skin tests are best performed in the doctor’s office to make sure the results are accurately read and minimize the risk of side-effects.

  • Challenge tests - Mostly used for food or medication allergies, a small amount of an allergen is inhaled or taken by mouth and monitored closely by a trained allergist.

  • Blood tests - Blood is drawn to test allergens, usually medications, when the testing may be unsafe or won’t work; results usually aren’t as immediate as skin or challenge tests.

By seeing a local allergist, you can discover what allergens are affecting you and discover a treatment plan that will get you feeling better in no time. Contact Arkansas Otolaryngology Center to learn more about Allergy Testing and schedule an appointment.