Asthma: Allergy Testing
If you often have allergy symptoms—such as itchy, watery eyes; a runny nose; wheezing;
sneezing; or itchy skin— allergy testing can help determine if your symptoms are from
allergies. Some people's allergy symptoms don't include their nose or eyes, but mainly
their asthma acts up. 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 healthcare provider will test how you react to allergens. For example, dust mites,
pets, mold, tree, weed, and grass pollen, cockroach droppings, and many other substances.
One type of allergy testing is the prick technique. During this test, the provider
will make a small prick in your skin with a needle that has allergen extract on it.
A very small amount of the allergens is then in 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 that are triggering your asthma, talk with your
healthcare provider about getting tested. Knowing your allergies helps you make changes
to avoid them. Your healthcare provider may suggest that you get allergy shots—also
known as immunotherapy—to decrease your symptoms.