With winter already in full swing, spring is just around the corner. For most of us that means saying goodbye to cold weather, but for a vast majority, it also means seasonal allergies will be here before you know it. Allergies can range anywhere from mildly irritating to debilitating, and they can also cause some grave consequences to your health. If you aren’t sure what is making you so miserable during certain times of the year, it is important to find out for your overall health.
Allergies are the way that the body reacts to foreign objects in your environment. Sometimes people are sensitive to certain things that make their bodies produce an immune system response. In people with severe allergies, the immune system response can be serious, it can lead to hospitalization, and it can also hurt their overall health. Allergy testing is an excellent way to pinpoint what you are reacting to, what type of medication can help and also to make sure that what you are allergic to isn’t lurking in your environment.
Allergy testing to rule out things that may hurt you
Some allergens are more than just irritating. Things like mold in the home can produce disastrous health consequences. Having black mold in your home can contribute to a higher risk of cancer and poor respiratory status. If you suspect that there are environmental conditions that are causing harm to your immune system, it is best to find out what they are.
The effects of chronic allergies
When you have chronic allergies, it can rob your immune system from effectively protecting you from disease and illness. Wasting so much time reacting to allergens, allergies can tax the system and cause the body to be left unprotected from those things in the environment that really are of concern. That is why it is important to get allergy tested to find out how to stop your allergen reactions and free the immune system to do its job.
Most allergens can be detected through the use of two different types of allergy tests, the skin test, and the blood test. Each has pros and cons to using. Depending on your symptoms, the physician will order the best one to examine what your body is reacting to.
The three variations of the skin test are:
The skin prick is performed by scratching the surface of the skin and then putting a drop of solution that contains the allergen of investigation. Once the allergen can get below the skin, if a reaction or irritation such as itching or redness appears, you are likely allergic.
The intradermal test is done by placing several very tiny needles filled with allergens just under the skin. If you are allergic, it will cause the skin to react with an itchy red bump. If the skin becomes raised and agitated, you are most likely allergic to the allergen. This type of test has a higher false positive rate than the skin prick test but is highly sensitive.
The skin patch test is when there is a patch of allergens applied to the skin and allowed to sit for 24 to as many as 72 hours to see what the reaction is. The patch test is the most common form used to look for skin allergies.
The blood test
The blood test is used to detect things called antibodies. It can measure levels of antibodies called immunoglobulin E, which is how the body internally reacts to allergens. It is a test that is a better tool for allergies and asthma than the skin variations.
Allergies are not only irritating they are very taxing on the body functions. They can disrupt the immune system and leave the body unprotected. It is important to pinpoint what you are allergic to so that you can effectively treat the allergy.