Allergies are incredibly common in the United States, as more than 50 million people suffer from them each year. While some allergies present as nothing more than a nuisance, others can interfere with your quality of life and even be life-threatening. If you suspect you have allergies, and they’re posing problems, it may be time to get answers through allergy testing.
Here at High Rock Internal Medicine, our team of providers has in-depth experience with allergies, and we understand when it’s appropriate to test for them, what we need to test for, and how we need to treat them once they’re diagnosed.
The term allergies is catchall description of any reaction your immune system has to a foreign substance (an allergen). While, technically, you can have a dysfunctional immune response to just about anything, some allergies are more common than others, including:
Reactions to these allergens also vary widely, depending upon your body’s response. For example, pollen and mold allergies often create symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes. Food allergies or insect allergies, on the other hand, frequently lead to problems on your skin, such as hives.
In extreme reactions, anaphylaxis can develop, which is a life-threatening condition in which your airways close and your blood pressure drops.
Getting tested for allergies is largely a decision only you can make, depending upon the extent to which they interfere with your life and your health.
Obviously, if you experience extreme reactions to certain allergens, you should absolutely undergo testing so we can give you the tools you need to weather an allergy attack, such as an epinephrine auto-injector, or EpiPen® to combat anaphylaxis.
Most people, though, have far less severe allergy symptoms. Still, if your symptoms are affecting your quality of life, you’d do well to have us test you so we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
To give you a better idea about what we’re talking about, let’s take a look at hay fever, which is one of the more common allergies. If you find yourself sneezing each spring, but the symptom quickly resolves itself as the season changes, perhaps you may not feel the need for testing. If, however, the sneezing is also accompanied by itchy eyes, sore throat, congestion, and other unpleasant side effects, allergy testing allows us to better manage these symptoms.
Another point to consider is if you have other conditions that may be exacerbated by allergies, such as:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
Through allergy testing, we can sort through your symptoms to clearly identify where potential problems may lie.
If you decide that allergy testing is a good idea, we first review your symptoms to determine which type of testing will provide the best answers. There are two primary types of allergy testing:
- Blood tests to check for antibodies
- Skin tests to check for reactions
If you’d like to learn more about allergy testing and whether it’s appropriate for your situation, please contact our office in Lexington, North Carolina to set up an appointment.