HOW DO WE DIAGNOSE YOUR ALLERGIES?
If you suffer from allergic symptoms, you can only know for certain if you have an allergy by undergoing a specific test.
The doctor will start by asking you questions about your symptoms, history of allergy, exposure, family history etc., to get a good picture of your situation and to see what s/he can do to help you.
SKIN TESTING & INTRACUTANEOUS TESTING
To help determine whether an allergy is involved, the doctor may perform a skin prick testor intracutaneous test. These tests involve either a gentle prick through a drop of allergen extract on the surface of your arm or the injection of a small amount of allergen extract into the skin. This may result in a small swelling and a reddening of the skin, suggesting that you have an allergy.
PATIENT INSTRUCTIONS FOR SKIN TESTING & INTRACUTANEOUS TESTING
- 1. Schedule an appointment on-line or with our receptionist by phone
- 2. Three (3) days or 72 hours before your testing appointment is scheduled, please stop taking the following medications :
- Decongestant / antihistamine combination medications
- Astelin, a prescription nose spray antihistamine
- Any over the counter allergy medicines, cold & cough remedies
- Any over the counter sleep aids, they usually contain a sedating antihistamine
- Vitamin C, if you are taking 1000 mg or more: large doses act as a natural antihistamine
(If you are not certain if you are taking a product that contains an antihistamine, ask your pharmacist or call this office.)
- 3. Please Note you should continue to take as prescribed the following medications :
- All asthma medications
- Prescription nose sprays, with the exception of Astelin, which is an antihistamine
- Decongestants that are not combined with an antihistamine
- 4. Please dress accordingly: the 1st phase of testing (prick tests) are done on the forearm and the 2nd phase of testing (intradermal tests) are done on the upper arms.
Your skin condition may be caused by an allergic response to chemicals you come in contact with. The method to obtain proof of a possible contact dermatitis is to apply patch tests. Sticky patches will be applied to your back that contains different common chemicals found in household end work environments. A positive test reaction will look like a red patch and is sometimes itchy.
PATCH TEST PROCEDURES
Patch Testing requires 3 office visits in one week. Test allergens will be taped to your back on (1st visit). The patches will be removed in 48 hours (2nd visit) and you will need to return the next day for the doctor to do the final reading (3rd visit). It may be necessary to have an additional read at day 7.
Final Visit: If you have positive reactions, we will prepare information handouts on the chemicals you are sensitive to.
PATCH TEST INSTRUCTIONS
- The test will be applied to the upper back area
- Please notify us if you are pregnant
- To prevent excessive sweating please refrain from exercising, performing hard work, taking a shower or hot bath. You may take a tepid bath. Do not get the patch test area wet.
- Do not take any cortisone medicine during the test. Call if you have any questions about your medications. You must be off oral cortisone (prednisone) for at least 2 weeks prior to this test.
- Avoid exposure of the back to the sun.
- Do not remove the patch.
- Do not rub or scratch the application zone. Itching is an indication of a positive response and scratching might alter the test result.
FOOD PATCH TESTING
Food allergy affects between 5% and 7.5% of children and between 1% and 2% of adults. Diagnosing food allergy can be challenging and often requires a trained medical specialist to find the cause. Food allergic patients classically have an IgE-mediated disease which can be diagnosed with skin prick testing, although there is a subset of patients that will be missed if non-IgE mechanisms are not investigated. Recent studies have examined the use of food patch tests for patients with atopic dermatitis (eczema), eosinophilic esophagitis and other atypical food reactions. Food patch testing is a useful test in evaluating patients and can help identify reactions that are not IgE-mediated.
PLEASE BRING THE FOLLOWING ITEMS TO YOUR FIRST PATCH FOOD TEST
Jarred Baby foods:
- Sweet Potato
- Green Beans
If you have any questions contact our office.
Monday (Patches applied) Wednesday (Patches removed 48 hr reading) Thursday-Friday (72 hour reading by doctor results discussed) Day 7 may be required for reactions which are equivocal at 72-96 hours