Allergy Testing in Tampa and Spring Hill, FL
Allergy tests are the first step towards an effective treatment for allergies and associated symptoms. For optimum treatment outcomes, allergy testing should be performed by an experienced and skilled allergist, such as the physicians at Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists. As board-certified Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeons, we have helped hundreds of adults, children, and teenagers in Spring Hill, Tampa and nearby towns effectively manage their allergies.
What is an Allergy Test?
An allergy test is used by your doctor to determine what substance, or allergen, is the trigger for your allergic response. Allergy tests may be performed with the blood or skin of the patient. The most common method is a skin test because the test is considered fast, reliable, and less expensive than a blood test.
When Should I Get Tested for Allergies?
You may need to be tested for allergies if you have symptoms more than three months a year, in spite of environmental and medication control.
Allergy testing consists of two main goals: to establish preventive measures and to promote immunotherapy. It would be considered unreasonable to exile the cat or cover mattresses if you are unsure that pets and dust mites are the origins of the allergy. A skin test that is positive will identify a certain allergy.
How is an Allergy Test Performed?
Doctors use a variety of testing methods for allergies. The results of an allergy test can be very different based on the type of testing, so you should only rely on an experienced allergist such as the physicians at Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists.
For allergies, our physicians rely on the newest form of testing called modified quantitative testing (MQT). MQT testing involves both prick testing, in which the skin is scratched, and intradermal testing, in which a tiny amount of allergen is injected under the skin of the arm. The dual-test approach allows the physicians to measure the presence and severity of your allergy to each substance used during the test.
Typically 40 tests are performed, and the procedure takes about one hour. Prick testing uses an eight-pronged, plastic device to gently create a small raised mark, or wheal, in the skin of the arms. With positive reactions, no further testing is required. For negative results, a small TB needle is used to raise a skin wheal read in 10 minutes.
Can I Get a Blood Test for Allergies?
Sometimes blood testing, also known as RAST, is required in the case of environmental allergies. One drawback is that blood testing is not as sensitive as skin testing, particularly with regards to mold allergies. For this reason, we limit the use of RAST blood testing, recommending it primarily for patients with skin diseases and young children.
Do Any Medications Affect My Allergy Test?
You should tell us about any medications that you take before you are tested. For example, antihistamines can lead to false negatives. One type of anti-hypertensive drug called “beta blockers” have negative effects on both immunotherapy and testing. They also interfere with rescue medications used in the case of an anaphylactic reaction.
What Can I Expect After my Allergy Test?
Patients often experience skin reactions, normally due to testing with molds. Although normal, this type of reaction can be very annoying to the patient. An oral antihistamine and cortisone cream can help alleviate symptoms of redness and itching.
Can I Be Tested If I am Pregnant?
Pregnant patients should not be tested. Any patient who becomes pregnant while they are taking immunotherapy can keep taking their normal dose but cannot take the next step in the process until after delivery.
Your Allergy Treatment Consultation
Your medical history is reviewed to try to determine the cause of your allergy. You will need to tell us when and where your outbreaks occur and the type of symptoms you experience. We may recommend specific testing to learn what is causing your allergy. We will also look at what types of medications you may be taking to rule out any chance that the drugs are the cause of your allergy.
The physicians of Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists are highly experienced in allergy testing, so you feel confident in the recommended treatments. If you would like to learn more about allergy testing, please contact our Tampa or Spring Hill office.