Get Your Allergies Under Control With Allergy Testing

Feb 08, 2023
If you have allergies, you may feel like they rule your life. You can’t go outside if the pollen count is high. You’re afraid to eat in a restaurant because you never know what could trigger an attack. But there’s relief. Allergy testing puts control back.

If you have allergies, your immune system is basically out of control. Instead of saving its resources to attack genuine pathogens that pose a risk to your health, it attacks benign substances. This overblown reaction creates a variety of unpleasant symptoms that can include everything from sneezing to headaches to diarrhea.

Some forms of allergies are even life-threatening. If you have asthma, or if you’ve been diagnosed with anaphylactic reactions to allergens, you need to know what substances trigger your allergic reaction so that you can avoid them and stay safe.

At the Center of Advanced Wellness, our expert medical team offers allergy testing for women, men, and children of all ages. If you’re overwhelmed with allergy symptoms or have been diagnosed with asthma or anaphylaxis, allergy testing helps you feel better and may even save your life. 

Following is a brief summary of our approach to allergies, allergy testing, and helping you understand how knowing your triggers puts you back in control of your life. Allergy tests are fast, virtually painless, and may be covered by your insurance.

Why we use skin-prick tests

Although blood tests are available for allergies, they’re not as accurate as skin-prick tests. Doctors have used skin-prick tests to successfully identify allergies for more than 100 years. 

Skin-prick tests are also faster than blood tests, because we don’t have to wait for a lab to analyze results. In fact, if you’re allergic to a substance we test, we can often see the reactions within minutes, although some take days to develop. Once the results are in, we customize a treatment plan based on identified allergies as well as your medical history.

How you prepare for allergy tests

Before your allergy test, it’s important to discontinue any medications that may influence your results, including but not limited to medications you currently take for allergies or to control symptoms. At your initial consultation, bring us a list of all of the medications you take. 

Medications that should be discontinued include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Some heartburn medications
  • Xolair for asthma
  • Tricyclic antidepressants 

We may ask that you avoid those drugs for up to 10 days before your test. However, we ensure that you’re healthy and safe if you do so. You should also avoid using cologne or scented items on the day of your test.

What happens in your allergy test

On the day of your allergy test, we cleanse the skin where we conduct the test. Usually, that’s the forearm if you’re an adult or the back if it’s a child. We then draw identifying marks on your skin with a pen and place a drop of that substance next to the mark.

We use a lancet, which is a very thin needle, to prick the extract into your skin. The needle doesn’t penetrate deeply and so shouldn’t be more than mildly uncomfortable. We use a different, sterile lancet for each skin prick.

We may also test your reaction to histamine — which should create a skin response — and glycerin, which should not create a response. By evaluating your reaction to these two substances, we can gauge the accuracy of your other reactions.

What we test for

We can test for up to 50 substances that are common allergens. We test for seasonal allergies, substance allergies, and food allergies, including common allergens such as:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Penicillin
  • Bee venom
  • Peanuts
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Wheat

Even if you don’t have an allergy to a particular food, you may still be sensitive to it. Keeping a food diary helps you identify foods that you may have difficulty digesting, even if you’re not actually allergic to them.

How your results help you

Once you know for sure what substances trigger your allergies, you know how to avoid them. The results also help us decide what type of lifestyle changes and treatments are best for you. 

If you have allergies to certain foods, it’s safest to cut them out of your diet entirely. In addition to lifestyle changes that minimize your contact with allergens, we can also prescribe medications based on your type of allergy, including:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Nasal sprays
  • Eye drops
  • Allergy shots

Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy that trains your body to tolerate the allergen. They require a long time commitment.

Find out why you’re wheezing, sneezing, or heading to the bathroom more than you want due to allergic reactions by scheduling an allergy test today. Contact our Center of Advanced Wellness office nearest you today by phone or online. We have a location in Frisco and two in San Antonio, Texas.