The three most common triggers of allergy are dust mites, grass pollen and cats. More than 9 out of 10 people with allergies are sensitive to at least one of these. To determine which specific substances are triggering your allergies, your allergist/immunologist can test your skin or your blood by using tiny amounts of commonly troublesome allergens.
As a general rule, inhaled allergens such as dust mites, tree, grass or weed pollens will produce respiratory symptoms and ingested (food) allergies will produce skin and/or gastrointestinal symptoms or anaphylaxis. However, both types of allergens (ingested and inhaled) can produce the full spectrum of allergy symptoms.
In order to deal with allergy symptoms most effectively it is first necessary to determine what is causing your allergy. For instance, you don't have to get rid of your cat if you are allergic to dust mites but not cats.
Allergy tests provide concrete specific information about what you are and are not allergic to. Once you have identified the specific allergen(s) causing your symptoms, a treatment plan can be designed to control or eliminate the allergy symptoms.
Common allergies come from:
More serious allergic reactions can come from:
All of these allergens are typically made up of proteins. Allergy tests find which of these proteins you may be reacting to.
TYPES OF ALLERGY TESTING
A small amount of allergen is introduced into the skin by making a small puncture through a drop of the allergen extract. If an allergy is present, this test will cause a chain reaction to begin in your body.
People with allergies have an allergic antibody called IgE (immunoglobulin E) in their body. Upon encountering an allergen, IgE activates special cells called mast cells, which in turn release chemicals called mediators – such as histamine, the chemical that causes redness and swelling. This localized swelling occurs only in the spots where the tiny amount of allergen was introduced as part of the test. Test results are available within 15 minutes, and any swelling goes away within 30 minutes.
With your allergy symptoms under control you should see a considerable improvement in the quality of your life. Improved sleep quality because of less congestion, days without constant sneezing and blowing your nose, improved ability to exercise, and better control of your atopic dermatitis (eczema) are some of improvements you may gain from your allergy treatment plans.
Other more controversial types of allergy testing methods include: applied kinesiology (allergy testing through muscle relaxation), cytotoxicity testing, urine autoinjection, skin titration (Rinkel method), provocative and neutralization (subcutaneous) testing or sublingual provocation.
Your body is a highly complex, interconnected system. Instead of guessing at what might be wrong, let us help you discover what is really going on inside your body based on the many clues it is giving.
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