It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans currently suffer from allergies and asthma. These common conditions require many factors for their proper diagnosis and to create an effective treatment plan for the patient. When you are suffering from one of these suspected conditions, you will want to speak to an allergist.
An allergist is a trained medical professional who uses their skills to collect your medical history and perform allergy testing. Through these methods, an allergist is able to come to a proper diagnosis about your condition. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what an allergist does below.
Takes Your Medical History
Your medical history is like a highlighted story that brings the allergist up-to-speed about who you are and any possible medical related illnesses you’ve suffered in the past or currently have. This is a critical link that helps connect your symptoms with the skin testing results an allergist obtains.
Perform Allergy Skin Testing
Allergy skin testing is the most commonly used form of testing by a trained allergist. This test works to detect a patient’s sensitivity to certain irritants. For example, pollen, mites, foods, latex, and other substances. Through skin testing, your allergist will be able to see any adverse reactions when an irritant is present on the skin.
This is one of two allergy skin tests that can be performed on a patient with a suspected allergy. During this test, an allergist will prick the patient’s skin with a tiny amount of the allergen. The prick test is typically done on the inside of the arms or the back, and many allergens are tested at once. If your body is allergic to the allergen, it will begin to swell and appear red.
This allergy test goes a litter deeper into the skin, under the first few layers. It is performed much like the prick test, just at a more drastic depth. An intradermal test is typically performed when the prick test results were not completely clear.
Allergy Blood Tests
In most cases, an allergist will opt for a skin test over a blood test for the fact that the skin is more sensitive. However, they may be unable to get proper results with an allergy skin test if any of the following are present:
- The patient is taking a medication that interferes with the skin allergy test results.
- The patient has a serious skin condition or overly sensitive skin.
- The patient had a severe adverse reaction to an allergen in the past and should not be exposed to the allergen again.
With a blood allergy test, the blood sample is shipped off to a laboratory. In the laboratory, the blood is tested for specific allergen antibodies which reveal a patient’s allergies. While prick tests reveal results of an allergic reaction within a few minutes, blood tests take a few days before results are received.
Although there are a few different tests than an allergist can order for their patient, they must examine a variety of factors to ensure the test they order will be accurate. It’s very common for patients to be somewhat sensitized to an abundance of allergens, however, only be clinically allergic to a handful of substances. Knowing the difference is what separates a successful diagnosis apart from an inaccurate one.
The Allergy Diagnosis Process
- Take Your Medical History
- Get A Description Of Your Symptoms
- Do A Physical Examination
- Perform Allergy Test(s)
By following this diagnosis process, your allergist will be able to come to a conclusive result about what your current allergies are.