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If you have a true allergy, you need to see a professional allergist. He or she can perform a number of tests to see if you actually suffer from an allergy. This is an essential part of the diagnosis process. Since the symptoms you exhibit may not directly indicate a specific allergen and can vary with individuals, this visit is essential. Your allergist or doctor cannot treat your allergy if they cannot pin point the trigger.
A visit to an allergist is similar in many ways to that of any other doctor. While the focus of the allergist is on your allergy, his or her approach adopts a common approach. In the beginning, he or she will first talk to you about your medical history. This may include previous reactions or health issues.
The allergist will ask questions about your current health and ask you to show any physical signs of the perceived allergy. He or she will ask about such things as:
It is only after a thorough physical examination that the allergy doctor will arrange for you to undergo a series of tests.
Tests can vary. The three most common ones are:
Skin tests are the most basic and popular for to discover what allergens are causing the problem. They involve placing a small amount of the most common allergens on the skin. A sterile probe pricks the skin to allow the material to enter the upper layers. The allergist may arrange for your skin to receive several different potential allergens or restrict to those he, she or you suspect are the culprits. The doctor will also include controls – materials that will not cause a reaction.
The entire test lasts about 20 minutes. It is rarely painful. If your skin presents a bump on the spot of the prick, you are allergic to this substance. Your doctor can then arrive at a potential treatment. You will also know what substances you need to avoid in the future.
Prick tests are more common and reliable than blood tests are. Results may take a week to confirm an allergen. Food challenges only apply to a suspected allergy. They involve you sampling suspected food items in small amounts. Food challenges should only be done under the watchful eye of a specialist.
If you think you have an allergy, the only way to safely and successfully determine the specific cause or causes, is to consult an allergist. This specialist will run test, including the prick test to confirm the causal factors. He can then work with you to arrange for the appropriate treatment program.
Call our offices at 212-319-5282 to schedule an appointment.