Allergies can cause sufferers great discomfort and inconvenience. Whether it's a reaction from certain foods, fabrics, or airborne particles, allergies often wreak havoc with a person's life.
If you are suffering from allergies, then the first step towards treatment is to identify the root cause of your reaction. That's where allergy testing comes into the picture.
WHAT IS AN ALLERGY TEST?
Allergies occur when your immune system, which is your body's natural defense system, overreacts to something in your environment. For example, pollen is normally a harmless substance, but in certain people it triggers an immune overreaction that leads to symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, or itchy and watery eyes.
Sometimes it may be difficult to tell what is actually causing your allergic reaction. An allergy test is an exam performed by a qualified allergy specialist (or allergist). It is designed to identify the substance that acts as a trigger for your allergies. There are several types of allergy tests available today, including:
- Skin testing. The most common form of allergy testing is skin testing, in which an area of skin is exposed to small amounts of various substances, and any reactions are closely monitored over time.
- IgE tests. As part of its overreaction to a particular trigger, your immune will produce cells known as IgE antibodies to fight off invading allergens. Your allergist may perform a blood test to see if you have specific IgE antibodies in your system.
- Elimination diet/testing. Other tests involve the elimination of certain substances from your diet or environment, and then their progressive reintroduction, to determine which one is an allergy trigger.
At the Allergy and Asthma Care of Waco, we have trained allergists on hand that are qualified to perform several tests. If you are suffering from allergies, they can help you to identify the source of your problem.