Allergy Testing and Injections for Dust/Pollen
More than 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies. Discovering the cause of your allergies is an important first step to effective treatment. Modern allergy tests are more convenient and accurate than ever before. When combined with a detailed medical history, allergy testing can identify the specific things that trigger your allergic reactions.
How Is Allergy Testing Done?
Allergy testing can be done as skin tests or as blood tests and are performed under the guidance of an allergy specialist. These specialists are trained in the best methods for testing and treating allergies.
Which Test Method Is Best?
Skin tests give fast results, and they usually cost less than allergy blood tests. However, some medications can interfere with the tests, and the tests can be hard to read on darker skin tones.
Blood tests are helpful because they involve a single needle prick, and medications do not interfere with the results. However, the results take longer, and the costs associated with blood tests are higher.
It is important to remember that test results alone do not diagnose allergies. Test results from either type of test must be interpreted together with your medical history.
There are two types of allergy treatments: medication and immunotherapy. When exposure to allergens is unavoidable, there are many medications that can help control allergy symptoms. Decongestants and antihistamines are the most commonly recommended allergy medications. They help to reduce a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and itching. Other medications work by preventing the release of the chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Corticosteroids are effective in treating inflammation in your nose. An allergist will work with you to determine which options are best for you and decide how often and how much of them you should take with the intention of minimizing side effects.
Immunotherapy is another treatment option, and it involves administering gradually increasing doses of the allergen in the form of shots, tablets, or drops. The incremental increases of the allergen cause the immune system to become less sensitive to the substance by causing the production of an antibody, which reduces the symptoms of the reaction. Immunotherapy is usually recommended only if the person seems to be selectively sensitive to several allergens.