When you have itchy eyes, a runny nose, and tend to break out in hives frequently, it is time to get tested for allergies. Sometimes you can pinpoint one of the things that causes the symptoms, but once you find you do have allergies, it is a good idea to be tested to find out what else is going to make you uncomfortable or worse. It is possible that your response to the allergens will never be more than nasal congestion and perhaps a headache. However, you can never be sure how your body is going to react to something you are allergic to so it is always best to know what may cause you trouble and avoid it. Here is a bit of information about the three most commonly used allergy tests.
There are three different skin tests. The first one is the skin prick test in which different allergens are on needles. The needles then gently prick your skin putting the allergen just under the skin. Generally, you will see a reaction in just a few minutes if you are allergic to the allergen. The skin injection test is very similar, but the allergen is placed deeper under the skin with a hypodermic needle. A doctor may do this test if the prick test comes back negative but they still feel a certain allergen is causing the problems. The last type of skin test is the patch test. You will wear a patch that has been coated with the allergen on your skin for a few days to note any reaction.
Blood testing is generally done when you have a severe allergic reaction but are not sure what caused it. You are not exposed to the allergen; instead, the blood drawn is. This way, you will not have to go through the reaction yourself.
A challenge test is usually done to test for reactions to food, aromas, or medications. They are done in a doctor's office so they can watch you for any reaction and treat you if necessary. You may start with small amounts of the possible allergen and slowly increase the amount you take or smell to determine how sensitive you are to it.
Once you know what you are allergic to, you can avoid it or at least minimize the chance of it affecting you. Your doctor may prescribe medications you can take to reduce the symptoms of mild allergic reactions or an epi-pen to help you should you have a severe reaction. However, the first step is to find out what is causing the problem.
For more information, visit a clinic such as Ashburn Allergy.