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30% of American adults have some form of allergy. If you’ve noticed some concerning symptoms and think you may have an allergy, you may be wondering if you need a test.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about allergy tests, and whether they may be right for you.
Ready? Let’s get started.
What Is an Allergy Test?
Allergy tests can help diagnose many different allergic reactions and conditions, including dermatitis, allergic asthma, penicillin allergies, bee venom allergies, hay fever, and much more.
Allergies happen when your immune system is overreacting to a substance that is usually harmless. While allergies are common, they can be difficult to figure out since we come into contact with so many different substances every day.
Allergists have a number of different tests that they can use to see if you may be allergic to something. These will often be skin tests, which is when your skin is exposed to different allergens and then observed to see if it reacts in any way- you can read more information here.
Are Allergy Tests a Good Option for You?
Skin allergy tests are usually safe for people of all ages, however, may not be recommended in certain circumstances. For example, if you’ve ever had a severe allergic reaction like anaphylaxis, you may be so allergic that it could trigger another life-threatening reaction.
If you’re currently taking certain medications, they could actually interfere with test results. Your doctor will let you know if it’s better for you to keep taking the medication and skip the test.
Skin testing will usually take less than an hour. Sometimes, your skin will react very quickly, developing an allergic reaction. Other tests will look for delayed reactions, which may not develop for several days.
Skin Prick Tests
Skin prick tests are also known as scratch tests or skin prick tests. These check for immediate reactions and can check for up to 40 different substances. Usually, these are able to identify if you’re allergic to dust mites, mold, pollen, and certain foods.
Patch tests are a good option if you’d like to see if you’re getting contact dermatitis from a particular substance. These tests can sometimes cause delayed reactions. Unlike prick tets, which use needles, these use patches, which have allergens applied to them. The patches are then applied to your skin, and you’ll wear them for 48 hours.
If you notice a reaction to one of these patches, this will be the substance you’re likely to be allergic to. The larger the bump, or reaction, the more allergic you are to that substance.
As you can see, allergy tests aren’t for everyone. If you’ve ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction, it’s likely that you may not be able to do them.
However, if you suspect you have an issue with latex, pollen, dairy, or another substance, and you’d like some clarification, these tests can be a great option.
For more information about how you can improve your health, check out some of our great health and fitness articles today.