An allergy is an abnormal immunological response to an allergen. An allergen is something that actually causes a mistaken response by your immune system – your system thinks it’s a foreign invader trying to attack your body, so the body overreacts by trying to overwhelm it and to get it out of your body. This is why you may have reactions such as sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes.
The most common allergens are food and environmental allergens. If you have food allergies, you may react negatively to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, or shellfish. If you have environmental allergies, you may react negatively to dust, pollen, pet dander, or mold.
Critical to allergy treatment is finding out what exactly you are allergic to. In order to do this, your allergist will need to review your medical history and conduct some tests. Let’s talk about the most commonly used types of allergy tests, and where you can go in Georgetown and Greater Austin for world-class allergy testing and treatment that works for you.
Common Allergy Tests
The two most common tests used in food and environmental allergy testing are the skin prick test and the blood allergy test, which are performed to find out which allergens you react to:
Skin Prick Allergy Test
A skin prick test is also called a skin puncture test or scratch test. This is the most commonly used method by allergists.
During the test, the allergy doctor lightly pricks the skin on your back or forearm with a thin needle or another device. This creates a tiny break in the skin. Then, the allergist places a small amount of a certain type of allergen (proteins) in the skin.
An allergist can test for 10-50 different allergens in a single skin prick test. If you are allergic to a certain protein, your skin will react in just under 20 minutes. You may develop hives or urticaria, which is a skin reaction that is characterized by red, pink, or flesh-colored bumps or welts.
Blood Allergy Test
Allergists can also use a blood allergy test, or an immunoglobulin-E (IgE) test. This method is straightforward and quick: The doctor acquires a small sample of your blood and sends it to the laboratory for allergy testing.
If you have a history of having severe allergic reactions, the allergist may prefer this method in order to prevent exposing you to harmful allergens. If you are allergic to a specific protein, your blood will create antibodies in the lab, specifically IgE, which the laboratory technician will detect.
Experienced Allergist in Georgetown, TX
If you suffer from allergies, it’s time to make an appointment with an allergist for allergy testing. Untreated allergies can contribute to a miserable quality of life, but you can live symptom-free despite your allergies with the right treatment.
If you are ready to take control of your allergies, call Georgetown ENT today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott Franklin, a double board-certified allergist in Georgetown. To make an appointment, call Georgetown ENT today at (512) 869-0604 or use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!