Allergy Testing Chicago, IL
Most patients who come for allergy testing are already aware that they have allergies. They may have been exhibiting signs or experiencing symptoms for some time. However, many people are surprised to discover just how many allergies they do have. Addressing multiple causes of allergies through medical care and lifestyle changes can bring significant improvement in suffering.
There are several methods of diagnosing allergies. Some require special preparation on your part, such as abstaining from allergy medications for a short period prior to the test. Your doctor or nurse will give you the instructions you need.
Skin testing for allergies
The prick or scratch test is still a reliable standard for allergy testing. This type of test is useful for diagnosing allergies to airborne substances, which cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, coughing, and itchy eyes.
During a skin test, a technician applies a small amount of an allergen to your skin with a plastic instrument. The tested allergens typically include animals, plants, and environmental allergens such as mold and mildew. If the skin becomes raised, the reaction will be further investigated to confirm an allergy.
Another type of skin test, called the patch test, is used to find the root cause of skin conditions such as contact dermatitis and hives. Some rashes and lesions are delayed or chronic reactions, and it may be difficult for the patient to pin down the substance that triggered the reaction.
A patch containing the suspicious chemical is applied to freshly cleansed skin, usually on the back, where the patch will not be disturbed or interfere with daily living. After a few days, the allergist will examine the skin for swelling, blisters, or other lesions.
Blood testing for allergies
Blood tests are more costly than skin testing; therefore, they are typically reserved for diagnosing food allergies. A blood test is also the ideal allergy test for patients who have extremely sensitive or inflamed skin or whose health is compromised in certain other ways.
Lung function tests
Spirometry measures the intake and output of the lungs. While it is not an allergy test per se, spirometry can indicate impaired breathing that may be the result of allergies or asthma. It is important to note that other medical conditions can affect respiration, so the lung function test is but one factor in making a conclusive diagnosis.
An x-ray or CT scan of the head (sinuses) or chest (lungs) can help to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of allergies or asthma. If your allergist orders such images, they will be taken at a hospital or standalone imaging center. You and your doctor will then discuss the results at a follow-up appointment.
Medically supervised allergy tests are safe and go a long way toward getting long-term relief. If you have specific questions about allergy testing, your doctor or nurse will be happy to answer them during your appointment. You can also call the office for more information or visit the following resource: