Allergies are very common. Their symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild allergies may cause annoyance. People suffering from mild allergies can experience an itchy nose, increased tear production, or congestion when in the presence of an allergen. Severe allergies can cause swelling of the throat called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can lead to death if it's not quickly treated. The best way to discover your allergies is to have an allergy test performed by an ENT doctor. Here are four facts that will help you understand how allergy tests are performed.
1. Allergy tests are often performed on the skin
Allergies commonly affect a patient's entire body. Respiratory symptoms may be present, but skin reactions like hives are not uncommon. ENT specialists use skin reactivity to test for allergies. A prick test is the most common type of allergy test. It's sometimes known as a scratch test because, during the test, your doctor will scratch your skin with a series of pins containing various allergens. You will wait in the doctor's office for a set period of time, which will give your skin a chance to react to the allergens. After 15 minutes, your doctor will read the results of your prick test.
2. Blood tests can be used
Blood tests can also be used to determine a patient's allergies. Blood tests are preferable whenever an allergic reaction might be dangerous to the patient since the allergen is introduced to the blood once the blood is already outside of the patient's body. Blood tests are often used to check for reactions to certain types of medications or bee stings. When you have a blood allergy test, you will feel a slight prick as your blood is drawn. However, you will not have to experience the itchiness and discomfort that comes from an allergic reaction.
3. Oral allergy tests may be required
Some allergies are oral in nature. Food allergies typically only manifest when a person ingests a food they are allergic to. Prick tests may not be sensitive enough to catch food allergies. If you are still experiencing allergy symptoms, especially after eating, your ENT specialist may schedule you for an oral allergy test. During an oral allergy test, you will eat a small amount of the suspected allergen in the presence of your doctor. You will be carefully monitored for an allergic reaction for a period of up to one hour.
To learn more, contact a company like Mid America Ear, Nose, & Throat Clinic PC.