Your immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that work together to defend your body against germs and infection. When it overreacts to certain substances – such as mold, pollen, pet dander, insect stings, or certain foods – it indicates that you have an allergy.
With an allergy, your immune system misinterprets a substance as a foreign invader, and your body thereby tries to get it out of your body by fostering a poor environment for the “invader.” However, in so doing, you suffer from the reaction.
One simple way to determine which allergens affect your immune system is by undergoing a skin test. Information gleaned from a skin-based allergy test can enable your doctor to develop an allergy treatment plan that includes allergen avoidance, medication, and/or immunotherapy.
Let’s talk about how a skin test works, how it reveals what you’re allergic to, and where you can go in Garfield for trustworthy allergy testing and exceptional treatment that will help you tamp down your allergies.
Identifying Your Specific Allergy
Allergy skin tests help diagnose a wide variety of allergic conditions, including:
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Allergy-induced asthma
- Eczema (dermatitis)
- Food allergy (peanuts, soy, shellfish, dairy, etc.)
- Dust allergy
- Pet-dander allergy
- Penicillin allergy
- Bee venom allergy
Allergy skin tests are typically conducted at a doctor’s office. A nurse usually administers the test, and the results are then interpreted by the doctor.
These tests generally take about 20 to 40 minutes. While some tests can detect an allergic reaction within minutes of exposure to an allergen, others cause a delayed allergic reaction – which may take days before you see a reaction on your skin to the allergen.
Types of Skin Tests to Determine an Allergy
There are several types of allergy skin tests. These include:
- Skin prick test – Also known as a puncture test or scratch test, this test is usually done on the forearm. It checks for an allergic reaction to up to 50 different substances, including pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, and foods. A skin prick test uses tiny needles that barely penetrate the skin’s surface and aren’t painful. If you are allergic to one or more of the allergens tested, you’ll develop a raised, red, and itchy bump that resembles a mosquito bite.
- Skin injection test – This test uses a needle to inject a small amount of an allergen into the skin on your arm to look for signs of an allergic reaction. This type of test is especially used to check for an allergy to penicillin or insect venom.
- Patch test – The purpose of this test is to check for contact dermatitis (whether a specific substance is triggering allergic skin inflammation). Instead of using a needle, up to 30 allergen extracts are applied directly onto the skin through tiny patches. A patch test can detect delayed allergic reactions to things such as latex, fragrance, preservatives, metals, hair dyes, resins, and medications – reactions that can take several days to develop.
The patches are kept in place on your arm or back for 48 hours, during which time you must avoid bathing or activities that induce heavy sweating, so as to not disturb the patches. When you return to your doctor’s office, the patches are removed; if a patch site reveals irritated skin, it likely indicates an allergy.
Allergy Testing in Garfield, New Jersey
Whatever allergies you may have, the healthcare providers at My Doc Urgent Care in Garfield can help to alleviate your symptoms and help you enjoy a better quality of life. Our on-site allergy clinic is equipped to conveniently and quickly test you for specific allergens, so you can be treated and feeling better in no time.
Experience the relief of proper allergy testing and treatment at My Doc Urgent Care in Garfield. Arranging an allergy skin test is as easy as visiting us during our regular business hours. We’re open seven days a week and most holidays, and appointments are not necessary.
If you have any questions or would like to tell us you’re on your way, you can call us at (862) 295-3501. We look forward to taking care of all of your healthcare needs!