Asthma: Allergy Testing
If you often have allergy symptoms—such as itchy, watery eyes; a runny nose; wheezing; sneezing; and hives or itchy skin— allergy testing can help determine if your symptoms are from allergies. Sometimes you can tell the allergic substance because of the time that your symptoms happen in the spring or fall, for instance. But you may need specific allergy testing to figure out other allergies.
The health care provider will test how you react to allergens. For example, dust mites, pets, mold, pollen, trees and grasses cockroach droppings, and many other substances.
One type of allergy testing is the prick technique. During this test, drops of allergens are placed on your skin. The provider makes small skin pricks in the same spots. A very small amount of the allergens are then under the skin. If you are allergic, the spot will get red, swollen ,and itchy. A more sensitive type of test uses a small needle to inject allergens under the skin.
If you think you may have allergies, talk with your health care provider about getting tested. Knowing your allergies helps you make changes to avoid them. Your health care provider may suggest that you get allergy shots—also known as immunotherapy—to decrease your symptoms.
- Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
- MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician