All About Allergies, Allergens, and Allergy Tests
Allergies happen when your body’s natural defense, medically known as the immune system overreacts to a harmless substance in your environment. The elements that trigger allergic reactions are known as allergens. Some common allergens include pollen, dust, and animal dander. The overreaction of the immune system to an allergen can lead to sneezing, a runny nose, blocked sinuses, and itchy, watery eyes. An allergy test can be understood as an exam that is done by a qualified allergist with the aim of determining if your body is allergic to a given substance. The test can enable you to avoid the allergen or even will allow your doctor to determine if going in for allergy shots in Leesburg is an option for you.
Types of Allergens
The substances that can cause an allergic reaction can be classified into three primary categories:
Ingested Allergens: These allergens are usually found in food such as soy, peanuts, and seafood.
Inhaled Allergen: These allergens usually cause allergic reactions when they come into contact with the membranes of the throat, nostrils, or lungs. Pollens are the most prevalent inhaled allergens.
Contact Allergens: These are allergens that cause allergic reactions when they come into contact with the skin. An example of such an allergic reaction is the itching or the rash that occurs due to poison ivy.
Why is Allergy Testing Important?
Allergies in the United States alone affect more than 50 million people. Inhaled allergens are the most common trigger of allergies, affecting over 40 million Americans. Globally, it is estimated that 250,000 people die every year due to asthma. Most of the deaths can be prevented with proper allergy care since asthma in itself is an allergic disease process. Allergy testing can go a long way in helping patients to determine the specific substances to which they are allergic for them to either avoid the allergens effectively or seek the right medication.
How Allergy Testing is Done
Allergy testing may involve blood testing or skin testing. Skin tests can be used to test a wide variety of allergens, including food-related and airborne allergens. Some common types of skin tests include intradermal, scratch, and patch tests. If there is a chance that you are going to experience a severe allergic reaction during the test, your allergist can choose to go in for blood tests. Blood tests usually look for antibodies that react to a specific allergen. In some cases, your doctor may try elimination diet tests to determine the kind of food that is triggering allergic reactions.
Overall, it is apparent that allergic reactions can be quite a nuisance, and in some cases, they can even be fatal. Therefore, it is imperative, if you have allergies, to seek the assistance of an allergist for tests and treatments. Undergoing allergy tests will help you to identify your allergens with accuracy for you to come up with a practical allergy management plan. If you are looking for a reliable allergist in Leesburg to help you with allergy tests and treatment, Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute is your best bet. Contact them today for more information.