Across the U.S., an estimated 50 million people suffer from some form of allergies. Since several different types of allergies are relatively common, signs and symptoms can differ greatly among Oklahoma allergy patients. Allergy tests allow immunologists to quickly and easily determine if allergies are affecting your health.
An ENT physician or immunologist may recommend allergy testing if you have a respiratory issue, skin condition, abdominal problem, sudden inflammatory reaction or any other related disorder that doesn’t have a clear cause. These quick, simple tests can determine whether allergies are causing your symptoms, reveal the specific substances you’re reacting to and allow your immunologist to determine the right treatment to effectively manage your symptoms.
Allergy Testing Methods
Every type of allergy test uses the same basic approach to evaluate your reactions to potentially problematic allergens. When you visit Bartlesville ENT for allergy testing, you’ll be exposed to very small samples of a number of common or suspect allergens in a controlled environment. Substances that you’re allergic to will cause an inflammatory response.
When you visit our clinic for testing, your immunologist will most likely recommend a skin test. Skin testing is the most common way to test for allergic responses because it’s effective, brief, relatively pain-free and comparatively low-risk. In certain cases, however, your allergist may recommend one of a few other types of testing instead of traditional skin tests. Some examples of allergy testing methods we use at Bartlesville ENT include:
During skin testing, we introduce tiny samples of several common allergens—up to 40 at a time—into the surface of the skin. This method is painless and is typically administered on the forearm for adults and on the upper back for children.
In most cases, your allergist can determine which substances you’re allergic to within about 30 minutes by examining each application site for signs of a reaction such as swelling, redness or inflammation. If you’re allergic to a substance, the injection site will feel like a small mosquito bite for up to a few hours after your test.
Occasionally, we need to administer a substance more deeply (intradermal injections) or for a longer period of time (patch tests) to achieve more pronounced results.
This method introduces potential allergens to your body through inhalation rather than by dermal application. Breathing in a potential allergen is considerably riskier than skin tests but is sometimes necessary to identify possible food or drug allergies. Challenge tests can potentially cause a severe reaction, so these exams are always administered by one of our allergists.
Blood tests are usually recommended to patients in cases where skin testing isn’t likely to work or may be unsafe. Blood tests allow your immunologist to identify allergen-specific antibodies in your blood and measure them. This reveals the specific allergens causing your symptoms and the severity of your allergic reaction to each individual substance.