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Allergy Testing

For anyone suffering from unexplained skin rashes, hives or itchy, watery eyes, sneezing fits or cold symptoms that never seem to completely go away, allergy testing is a must. For those who have asthma, testing is imperative, as well as those who are allergic to bee venom and certain foods which can bring about an anaphalactic shock, causing rapid death.

Allergy testing will diagnose what triggers your symptoms. The allergic reaction caused by allergens (the airborne offenders breathed in or ingested through foods) can make the sufferer miserable. And, in the case of an asthmatic person, a potential for serious breathing problems which can lead to death. The American Lung Association warns, “5,000 people a year still die from asthma attacks.” They also advised “due to increased air-pollution, asthma is on the rise”.

The testing will provide invaluable information which will improve the quality of life for those who suffer. Once aware of what the trigger/s are, you can avoid them. Hopefully, you will not have to give up a beloved pet. People mistakenly think if they remove the cat or dog out of the room, all will be well. However, it is not the pet that is the offender, it is the dander they shed which becomes air-borne. The dander will settle on furniture, clothes and bedding.

There are 60 main allergy testing triggers your doctor will test you for. These will include, dog, cat, horse, molds, pollens, dust mites, grass, trees and ragweed to mention a few.

Preparing your skin for the testing is extremely easy. Take a warm shower using a natural soap, such as Ivory. After washing thoroughly, rinse thoroughly and dry with an unscented towel….one free from fabric softeners. It will be very important to make certain your whole back and inside lower arms are given good attention. Just before the testing, your inner arms or back will be wiped extra clean with alcohol pads by the nurse.

Allergy testing will either be on the lower inner arms or on your back. If a child is being tested, the back will be the better choice. This is because younger children might be somewhat frightened at the experience. The actual test is painless. I speak from personal experience.

Usually the nurse administers the test. She will just barely break the first layer of skin with a special needle. It will not be as bad as an ordinary scratch, far less. These marks will be approximately one inch apart. Next, a drop of the allergen will be placed on each tiny mark. The only discomfort the patient will feel is an itch, if the reaction is severe. Testing is on a scale of one to four. One being mild and four being severe.

After 20 minutes you will be checked to see if any reactions occured. The tested marks will become raised, pinkish/red bumps (some itchy) and these will clear up on their own within a day or so. If you are itching severly you will be given a steriod cream to help reduce the itching and swelling.

Once you are armed with the results, you might be surprised at what you learn. The doctor will go over the list of what your reactions to the testing were, and you will be able to control some of your triggers by mere avoidance. Other allergic reactions can be controlled with medications. Sometimes medication is only needed during certain seasons of the year to control symptoms.

In addition, the benefits of knowing what to avoid and taking medication, if necessary, will make a terrific difference in your every day quality of life. Allergy testing will make the difference, and in some cases, the difference between life and death caused by an asthma attack or anaphylactic shock. If you think you or someone you love needs testing, do not delay!