Health Is Everything: A Medical Blog

How To Prepare For Allergy Testing

If you suffer from allergies, uncertainty can be the worst part. Guessing and trying to avoid unknown allergens can be highly stressful. You can remove the guesswork from the equation by undergoing allergy testing. An allergy test is performed by an allergist, and it will tell you and your doctor what substances provoke an allergic reaction in your body. Here are four things you should do in order to prepare for your allergy test:

1. Stop using allergy medicine in advance.

If you're like most people who suffer from chronic allergies, you probably take allergy medication on a regular basis. Allergy medication contains antihistamines that fight your body's natural histamine reaction. While antihistamines are very useful for making you more comfortable on a daily basis, they will interfere with the results of your allergy test. In order to get the most accurate result possible and avoid false negatives, you should stop taking all your allergy medication at least a week before your test is scheduled.

2. Speak frankly about your health with your allergist.

Your allergist will need to know your medical history before proceeding with the allergy test. You will most likely be asked to fill out an informational form that asks about any health conditions you have, as well as any medication you're taking. Certain medications may interfere with the results of your allergy test, so make sure to list all your medication as accurately as possible. If you're not sure what medicine you're taking, you may want to bring it with you to the exam so you don't forget the names and dosages.

3. Be prepared for discomfort.

In order to test your response to allergens, your allergist will draw a grid on your arm or back and scratch your skin with a series of needles containing various allergens. You may feel a sharp pinching sensation initially. If you're allergic to the substance, you may experience additional itching, burning, or swelling. This discomfort is unavoidable, but it should not last longer than fifteen minutes. After the test is over, you will have the opportunity to take antihistamines to relieve your discomfort and itchiness.

4. Be open to suggested treatments.

After reading your allergy test, your allergist may give you a suggested treatment plan. In some cases, avoiding the substances you're allergic to might be enough. Some allergens are difficult or impossible to avoid, such as airborne pollen. In these cases, your doctor may decide to put you on a daily regimen of antihistamines. If you have severe allergies, your allergist might recommend immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. Allergy shots can increase your body's tolerance to allergens, which will lead to fewer and less severe allergic reactions in the future.