Allergy Testing: What To Expect

Allergy Testing: What To Expect

Do you need allergy testing? Here’s what the process will look like.

If you are battling allergies, you are all too familiar with how your immune system overreacts when it comes in contact with an otherwise harmless substance. You may blow your nose constantly, or your eyes may be so itchy they might drive you crazy. If you don’t know what’s causing these symptoms to flare up, our San Antonio, TX, board-certified otolaryngologist Dr. Christine Gilliam may recommend allergy testing.

There are Three Main Types of Allergy Testing

When you come in for your consultation at our San Antonio, TX, practice, the first thing Dr. Gilliam will do is learn more about your symptoms. From there, she will discuss the different kinds of allergy testing she offers and determines which one will help uncover which substances you’re allergic to. The two most common types of allergy testing are skin tests and blood tests.

Skin Tests are the Most Common Allergy Testing

In most instances, our San Antonio, TX, team will recommend skin tests to test for allergies. This involves barely pricking the skin with needles that contain a minimal amount of certain allergens to test your skin’s reaction. This is often performed to check for environmental and food-related allergens; however, this may not be the best approach if someone has a severe food-related allergen.

Results Usually Appear Quickly with Skin Tests

If you’re undergoing a skin prick test, most reactions occur within the first 15 minutes after injection. We will monitor and evaluate your skin the whole time to look for raised, itchy bumps. Once we’ve detected a reaction, we will clean the skin thoroughly to eliminate the welts. Most people will experience symptoms for a few hours after their skin prick test, but you may choose to take an antihistamine after leaving our office.

Severe Allergies May Require a Blood Test

If you are prone to a severe and even life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, our ENT team may recommend that you undergo a blood test over a skin test. A blood test may also be a better option if you’ve been diagnosed with a skin condition like psoriasis. Instead of exposing someone to an allergen like a skin prick test, a blood test will look for the presence of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in your body. It usually takes a few days after your blood test to get your results.

Talk to Us About Your Medications 

Our team must know precisely what OTC or prescription medications, supplements and herbs you take, as they could interfere with your allergy test results. Before your test, you may need to stop taking antihistamines, heartburn medications, or tricyclic antidepressants. During your consultation, Dr. Gilliam will be able to tell you which drugs you should stop taking and for how long before your skin prick test.

Through allergy testing and a person’s detailed medical history, Dr. Gilliam and the San Antonio, TX, team at ENT & Sinus Center can often provide a diagnosis and custom treatment plan. If you need help controlling your allergy, turn to our experts. Call (210) 647-3838 today.