How do people find the cause of allergies? Most learn to recognize their allergy triggers; they also learn to avoid them in the name of allergy prevention.
An allergy specialist (allergist) may be able to help identify your triggers. Several different types of allergy tests are used to do this.
Skin testing is the most widely used and the most helpful in finding the cause of allergies. There are several different methods, but all involve exposing the skin to small amounts of various substances and observing the reactions over time.
Specific IgE tests generally identify IgE antibodies to specific antigens, or allergy triggers. The body produces antibodies to fight invaders, or allergens.
Ig G Food Intolerance Test to identified the hidden allergen from food that need to be avoided.
Other tests involve eliminating certain allergens from your environment and then re-introducing them to see if a reaction occurs.
People with a history of serious or anaphylactic reactions may be prescribed an auto-injector, sometimes called a bee-sting kit or an autoinjector like Auvi-Q, EpiPen, Symjepi or a generic version. These contain a pre-measured dose of epinephrine. You should carry two of these with you and inject yourself with the medication immediately if you are exposed to a substance that causes a severe allergic reaction or are developing any signs of anaphylaxis.
Allergy tests, without a doctor’s exam, usually are not reliable.
Many drugstores and supermarkets offer free screenings. And you can even buy kits to test for allergies yourself at home. But the results of these tests may be misleading.
▪️ The tests may say you have an allergy when you do not. This is called a “false positive.”
▪️ These free tests and home tests for food allergies are not always reliable.
Unreliable test results can lead to unnecessary changes in your lifestyle.
If the test says you are allergic to some foods, such as wheat, soy, eggs, or milk, you may stop eating those foods. You may end up with a poor diet, unnecessary worries and frustration, or extra food costs. If the test says you are allergic to cats or dogs, you may give up a loved pet.
And tests for chronic hives—red, itchy, raised areas of the skin that last for more than six weeks—can show something that may not look normal but is not a problem. However, this can lead to anxiety, more tests, and referrals to specialists.
So, when should you have allergy tests?
If you have allergy symptoms, you may get relief from self-help steps and over-the-counter drugs. If these steps do not help your symptoms, then it is time to see your doctor.
The doctor should ask you about your medical history and make sure you get the right tests. If your medical history suggests that you have an allergy, your doctor might refer you to an allergist or immunologist (doctors who specialize in allergies) for testing.
▪️ A skin test is the most common kind of allergy test. Your skin is pricked with a needle that has a tiny amount of something you might be allergic to.
▪️ If you have a rash or take a medicine that could affect the results of a skin test, you may need a blood test.
▪️ For chronic hives, you usually do not need an allergy test. However, your doctor might order tests to make sure that the hives are not caused by other conditions, such as a thyroid disorder.