How Do Doctors Test For Allergies?

For many people who don’t work in the medical profession, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding doctors and their tools. You (or your child) might wonder “how do they do that?” when you hear about treatments and diagnostic tests. One area of medicine with many “unknowns” is allergies. After all, with so many different potential allergens out there, how do doctors safely and accurately pinpoint the cause? At present, you can get an allergy test through either a skin test or a blood test to identify Las Vegas allergies.

The Skin Test
A skin test, also called a “scratch test” is the most common and accurate test. Additionally, the skin test provides nearly instantaneous results. When you arrive for an allergy test appointment, the doctor will begin by asking you about your symptoms, when they occur, and if you have any suspicions about specific things you may be allergic to, such as environmental toxins, animal fur, bees, or food. Using this information, the doctor will make a series of small pricks or make a small scratch in the outer layer of your skin. He or she will put a sample of the suspected allergen on the site to wait for a reaction. If you might be allergic to a substance in a broad category, like shellfish or pollen, your allergist will put multiple samples from those categories on your skin. If you are allergic to a substance, the surrounding skin will puff up, itch, and turn red, similar to a bug bite. The doctor will match the reaction site with the allergen to determine what you’re allergic to. You can read more about the skin test and what to expect at your appointment here:

The Blood Test

For several reasons, your doctor might not always be able to do a skin test to test for Las Vegas allergies. This is often the case if you are taking certain medications that can interfere with skin test results. If you have highly sensitive skin, your doctor will probably recommend a blood test over a skin test. Your allergist may also suggest a blood test if you’ve previously had a severe reaction to a skin test. Unlike a skin test, where you get the results right away, it will take a little longer to get the blood test results back, as they have to be sent to an outside laboratory for analysis. Most doctors tell their patients they can expect the results back in a week. In the meantime, you might be asked to avoid certain suspected triggers, like specific foods, medication, and pollen.

Once you get your test results back, your allergist will recommend a plan of action. He or she might prescribe medication to help control symptoms of seasonal allergies, like congestion, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. If you have a serious allergy with the potential for a life-threatening reaction, you will probably get an EpiPen. This fast-acting medication helps stop anaphylaxis shock, which is a potentially deadly reaction to an allergen.