Allergy Diagnosis in Vancouver, WA

People suffering from symptoms like a runny nose sometimes think they have a cold, until the “cold” lingers. Testing for allergies is the best way to find out if it’s actually an allergic reaction.

About Our Skin Tests

Our allergists, or doctors who specialize in allergic diseases, perform skin tests to learn whether a patient’s skin has IgE antibodies that react to a specific allergen. They use weakened extracts from allergens in the local area like dust mites, pollens, or molds. The extract of each is injected under the skin or applied to a tiny scratch or puncture on the back or arm.

Skin tests measure the level of IgE antibody in a person. A positive reaction results in a small area raising and reddening to form a wheal (hive), with a surrounding flush, called a flare, will appear at the test site. The size of the wheal can give the doctor an important diagnostic clue, but a positive reaction does not prove that a particular allergen is the cause of symptoms. Although such a reaction indicates that the IgE antibody to a specific allergen is present, respiratory symptoms do not necessarily result.

Blood Tests

Skin testing is the most sensitive and least costly way to identify allergies. People with widespread skin conditions like eczema, however, should not be tested using this method.

There are other diagnostic tests that use a blood sample to detect levels of IgE antibody to a particular allergen. One such blood test is called the radioallergosorbent test (RAST), which can be performed when eczema is present or if a person has taken medicines that interfere with skin testing.

Some ways to handle airborne allergies:

  • Avoid the Allergen
  • Take Medicine
  • Get Allergy Shots

Source: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/

 

Contact the Allergy and Asthma Center of the NW if you suspect you have an allergy. We welcome new patients and the chance to improve their lives.