Allergies are widespread these days as the seasonal change is occurring. Coughing, sneezing, headache, and swollen faces are a common sight in this weather.
These are common symptoms of hay fever, but it is important to know that not everyone experiencing this condition is suffering from allergic rhinitis. Interestingly, one out of three affectees of rhinitis is non- allergic.
You may mistake the common symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis as allergic rhinitis. Proper examination of symptoms helps to clear the confusion. After the diagnosis of allergic disease, see an allergist for further testing.
Allergists are highly qualified trained physicians who not only diagnose immune system disorders but also help in preventing, managing, and treating allergenic reactions.
As the name implies, allergy tests help to diagnose different allergy conditions. Allergy tests give a better picture to Allergists of how the subject’s body reacts to specific allergens –such as pollen, animal dander, certain food, or medication.
The most authentic and practiced method of allergy testing is the Skin Test. Radioallergosorbent testing (RAST) –a blood test –is another way.
Skin tests date back to the last century. These are still the primary source to diagnose an allergic disease –especially those spread by air, including pollen, dust mites, and dander. Food allergies are complexed sometimes, and skin test may prove to be of little help in diagnosing these allergies.
Skin tests are safer for people of all age groups. Though there is not much risk involved, skin testing is prohibited if the patient has sensitive skin, is on antihistamine or specific blood pressure medication, or have a heart or lungs disease.
The most commonly used skin testing technique is the Skin Prick Test, also known as Puncture or Scratch test. Allergistsuse a hypoallergenic pen tomark an area of the forearm then put tiny drops of an allergen on that part.
Within a span of half-a-minute, the allergists observe if the allergen triggers any reaction. Immunologists can check allergic reactions to as many as 40 substances in one test.
In this type of test, allergist injects a small amount of an allergen in the patient’s arm with a needle. He then observes the injected area after 15 minutes for the signs of allergic reactions. Intradermal reactions help diagnose drug and environmental allergies.
Patch testing does not require needles. Instead, the allergist applies as many as 20 to 30 allergens to a patch which he places on the patient’s arm. The patch remains in contact with the skin for 48 hours. During this time, you should avoid bathing or any activity causing heavy sweating. Irritation on the skin after the removal of patches suggests that you are allergic.
These tests help detect delayed allergenic reactions.
People with severe skin conditions can opt for a blood test instead of skin allergy testing. RAST is an expensive and time taking method as compared to skin testing. This method is particularly useful in examining food allergies.
The allergists draw a sample of the patient’s blood to measure specific allergic antibodies. This test does not indicate the severity of the reaction but helps diagnose allergic reactions.
It has become easier than ever before to diagnose, manage, and treat your allergies. For primary allergy testing to treatment, contact us, and schedule an appointment with the best Immunologists at Dr. Sneeze in NYC.
Boyan Hadjiev, MD
30 East 40th Street
New York, NY 10016
Have you ever wondered what an allergy test is like? Are you scared that the doctor might inject you several times? Are you frightened that the allergy might never go away? Doctors usually make sure that patients feel comfortable when they come for allergy tests. They prepare a file in which they note down the substances that stimulate an allergic reaction and therefore prepare a room accordingly.
The tests take time according to the intensity of the allergic reaction. Some tests last for just 20 minutes while other can last for an hour. This happens because different allergic reactions are detected differently. Some can be delayed reactions while others occur almost immediately.
Here are a few things you can expect when going for an allergy test:
The rooms that you are given are equipped with Wi-Fi so that you do not feel left out of the world. Hospitals know of the importance of Wi-Fi nowadays and that is the reason they’ve installed it all around the vicinity. Secondly, you will have all the different snacks available so you can eat whatever you want.
Doctors will apply numbing cream on their patients if the reaction is related to the skin. Most reactions cause rashes and the skin turns red from itching. The numbing cream will stop the pain as well as the itching altogether so that the doctor can continue his tests. No doctor likes it when their patient continues to twitch.
This test is used by the doctor to identify what kind of substance the patient is allergic to. The test involves a needle that is inserted slightly into the skin. As many as 40 substances can be checked through this kind of testing to see what the patient is allergic to so that proper medication can be given. The nurse will wait for 15 minutes after pricking the skin to see if there are any allergic reactions detected. This is a great way to find out how allergens may affect you so that you can take precautionary measures back home.
As the name goes, the nurse will insert an injection and then release tiny amounts of allergens into your body. The area where the patient received the injection is then observed to see if there are any red rashes or any other kind of allergic reaction. The doctor then recommends the relevant treatment once the signs are clear.
This kind of testing is usually done to out what allergen causes a delayed reaction in your body. There is no skin penetration involved. Instead, the nurse applies patches that mixed in allergens to see if the patient reacts to any of them. The patch has to be applied for 48 hours after which it is removed and only the patch area is observed for any allergic reactions. This is recommended for people who have needle phobia.
Many of the allergies we get start in winter and are at their height during spring. Most people are not aware of how many allergens are present at our homes and that is why we get sick more often in winter than any other season. You share the same room with bacteria that can adversely affect your body upon contact. The allergic reaction due can considerably vary from person to person. For example, the allergic reaction can be troublesome for some who has asthma. Moreover, you can get skin allergies, rashes, swollen lips or even itchy arms and legs.
That is the reason why it is absolutely pertinent that you take precautions all the necessary precautions all year round to avoid falling prey to winter and summer allergies. Some can even be as severe as to land you in a hospital for weeks. Here are some avoidable allergy triggers:
Dust mites infect areas with their waste. These microscopic organisms are present everywhere and are also one of the primary trigger points for asthma. Their sources of nutrition are human skin flakes. Most dust mites attach themselves to us while we are sleeping. Unclean sheets and humidity levels that are above 45% are a thriving environment for these microscopic insects. The best way to get rid of them is to wash your bed sheets thrice a week and use a new bed sheet every two days. In addition, vacuuming your house can also prove to be a quick way of getting rid of them.
Mold can be literally found in all types of environments. In your house, you can find it in your basement, storage room and even bathrooms. They trigger severe allergies on the skin and must be dealt with properly. To ensure you don’t have this problem affecting you, clean the aforementioned areas with bleach and strong detergents.
These creepy crawlies are one of the biggest contributors to asthma and other allergies. Cockroach feces, their saliva and shedding body parts can cause skin allergies and a number of other allergic reactions. Call your local pest exterminator immediately, even if you find one cockroach. Where there is one, you can bet there may be a growing infestation in the house.
Pollen is probably the trickiest allergic trigger to combat as it is everywhere. It travels with the wind and enters your house through windows, clothes, pets and even your hair. Most people have breathing problems in the spring when pollen distribution in the air is at its peak. To be safe, take a shower on a daily basis, and give your clothes a good shrug to get all that pollen and dust out. It would be ideal if you can wear a clean shirt every day.
Keep your pets clean and keep the windows shut during the day. If all of this does not work, wear a breathing mask, especially if you are asthmatic. In due time, you will notice the difference in your sleep pattern and you will also be able to breathe more easily with zero congestion.
If you have decided to seek professional help in managing your allergy symptoms, it is time to see an allergist. Before scheduling an appointment, you must know the general tips regarding how to prepare for your first visit. Refer to the guide below to get started.
People often deal with allergy symptoms for years before they finally decide to seek treatment. A lot of symptoms can be managed using decongestants and antihistamines, especially for those who are just experiencing seasonal allergies. On the other hand, some individuals have to go through serious symptoms or experience those symptoms for an extended period, which in turn impacts their ability to lead a normal life. In such cases, you should think about seeking professional help.
You should especially seek medical attention if OTC medications fail to provide relief or if you find yourself taking these medications for a never-ending period. Since these medicines have a temporary effect, they lose their effectiveness over time.
For effective allergy management, your allergist will need to know the exact time of the year, allergy sparklers, and circumstances in which you experience those symptoms. If for example, your symptoms are more severe during spring, after 5 hours of working in your yard, this is critical information for your allergist to know. If you mainly have food allergies, then maintain a food journal where you write down all the symptoms related to what you consume.
Your allergist will likely collect from you a complete family medical history, which is why it is important for you to have as much information on hand as possible. Before your appointment, research about your personal medical history, including any childhood allergies. Dig deep for your medical records and bring them along. The allergy specialist may also inquire about any past medications you have taken, and whether any of those have been successful in alleviating your symptoms. For this reason, it might be a good idea to bring along any sprays, creams, medications or ointments you have used in the past for the allergist to review during the visit.
Reach the office prepared, and ask questions, lots of them. Good questions include: “what to expect from the treatment plan?”, “Are there any side effects related to the prescribed medicine?”, “what tests are available to me that will help determine the cause(s) for my allergic reaction?”, and “do I need to make some changes to my lifestyle or the environment?”.
Remember that your first appointment is the perfect opportunity for you to get acquainted with the allergist, address your concerns, and see if you can have a long-term association with the allergist.
Are you looking for the best allergist in New York City? Contact us today, and we will help you schedule an appointment with the right allergist.
CAP-RAST is a type of blood test, which may be recommended by your allergist to check for allergies.
When you have a reaction to an allergen, your body identifies the substance as harmful and releases a protein called immunoglobulin E (IgE). A CAP-RAST is a blood test which determine if IgE attaches to the allergen. But unlike some other types of blood tests, the CAP-RAST can also measure the amount of IgE directed at the allergen, which helps your allergist determine if you are allergic to a specific food or other allergens.
This type of blood allergy testing is often used in food allergies. Although it can detect the levels of IgE and confirm you are allergic to a specific allergen, the test will not determine how severe a reaction you may have.
The procedure is relatively simple. It involves taking a small amount of blood and applying it to material containing the suspected allergen. A positive reaction to the allergen indicates an allergic reaction is likely. CAP-RAST testing may also be done in conjunction with skin allergy testing to confirm a diagnosis.
In some instances, a CAP-RAST may also be done if skin allergy testing may cause a systemic allergic reaction in highly sensitive patients. One advantage of CAP-RAST testing is medication does not need to be stopped prior to the test. After the test, you allergist will go over the results and explain what the result indicate.
For more information on CAP-RAST testing or other types of allergy tests, please call one of New York City’s top allergy doctors Dr. Boyan Hadjiev.
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