Allergic reactions show up in a variety of forms. From itchy, red, raised bumps known as contact dermatitis to vomitingand digestive upset, to trouble breathing and even a closing of the airways, allergies can range from mildly annoying to life-threatening. Getting allergy tested is important if you experience any of these symptoms.
Skin and Contact Allergies
Most contact allergies are relatively mild, but they can produce serious reactions like hives. To test for skin allergies, you’ll undergo tests that expose you to various allergens and measure the reaction. A tiny amount of the allergen is placed on or below the skin. A raised, itchy bump, called a wheal, is a sign of a positive reaction, indicating an allergy. Treatment may range from simply avoiding the allergen to using steroidal creams or antihistamines.
Pollen, Dust, and other Airborne Allergies
If you are suffering from shortness of breath, runny nose and congestion, and other “cold” symptoms that seem to linger for weeks and months, your doctor may recommend a series of asthma or allergy tests. Tests for allergies that affect breathing may include lung function tests and x-rays.
A spirometry test confirms whether you are suffering from asthma. You will be asked to breathe into a special mouthpiece that is attached to a machine which measures airflow. The machine will let the doctor know how much air you’re able to inhale and exhale, and the force at which you are breathing.
- Peak Airflow
This test measures your ability to force air out of your lungs. It helps the doctor to assess your lung function and strength.
- Trigger Tests
Trigger tests are designed to test your sensitivities to certain known asthma or allergy “triggers.”
If you regularly experience digestive upset, rash, hives, congestion, or trouble breathing after eating, a series of food-allergy tests may be recommended. These may include an elimination diet and trigger tests to determine which specific food ingredients are causing your symptoms.
If you suspect you or your child is suffering from allergic reaction, you should make an appointment for testing as soon as possible. If you suffer symptoms such as trouble breathing, swelling or hives, seek medical treatment immediately.