Allergy tests can help determine what types of allergies you may have when you breathe, touch, or eat. However, allergy tests themselves are not usually enough to help determine what you may be allergic to. Most have to be determined via patient medical history and exams to help further diagnose certain allergic conditions. If you plan to undergo an allergy test, but don’t have symptoms that lead to a specific allergy, keep this in mind:
Allergy Tests Are Not 100 Percent Reliable
There are tons of different allergy tests to buy at your local drug store, but can often be misleading or offer false results. Although these tests may save you money than tests at the doctor’s office, they can give you a false positive or alternative results overall.
If the results on your tests say that you are allergic to some type of foods that can end up putting you on a poor diet and unnecessary stress to the many changes you make. In addition, if the test says you are allergic to some animals you may end up losing valued time with lifetime companions.
Also, some tests that indicate chronic hives can offer mixed results that can add excess stress and costs for a specialist referral to a common problem.
It Could Be a Waste of Money
Although some tests are cheap, some cost a pretty penny. In fact, skin allergy tests can cost upwards of $300. A blood test can even cost up to $1,000 depending on the severity of the test. Also, your health insurance may not completely cover the costs of the test which will make you pay out of pocket. Plus, without a proper doctor’s exam, you will not be able to completely address your allergies and how to treat them.
When Should You Get An Allergy Test?
Luckily, if you have allergy symptoms, you can get help from either over-the-counter medicine or self-help steps you can do yourself. However, if these steps do not help your allergy problems, be sure to consult a doctor.
The doctor you’re consulting should know the full length of your medical history and make sure you are taking the right test for your condition. If your medical records indicate you have a type of allergy, your doctor may refer you to an immunologist or allergist for further testing.
Skin tests are the most prevalent form of allergy test. During this test, your skin is poked with a needle that contains a small amount of a substance that you may be allergic to. You may be required to take a blood test before the allergy test if you are taking any medications that can affect the results or if you have a rash. If you have chronic hives, you will probably not need an allergy test. Your doctor may, however, suggest a few other tests to ensure that the hives are not indicative of an underlying condition. Hives may be caused by lupus, thyroid disease, or lymphoma.
How To Manage Allergies and Hives
- The only way to treat food allergies is to stay away from the foods that trigger an allergic reaction.
- Read the ingredients label on any packaged foods you purchase.
- When out at restaurants, ask about the ingredients in each dish.
- If your food allergy is very serious, bring a prescription of epinephrine everywhere and where a medical alert bracelet, just to be on the safe side.
Indoor and Outdoor Allergies
- If you have indoor allergies, use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner. You should also vacuum and wash bedding and rugs regularly.
- If you have an outdoor allergy, you can keep an eye on pollen counts. You should stay indoors as much as you can on days with high pollen counts.
- Consider using an over the counter allergy medication. These include antihistamines like loratadine, cetirizine, and diphenhydramine. You can also go to your doctor and ask them to prescribe you a nasal steroid spray.
- Visit a doctor. They will be able to recommend a suitable treatment, which may involve higher doses of antihistamines.
- You should also avoid using drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. You should also stay away from alcohol. All of these can make hive worse.