What to expect when you visit the doctor

One of the most important things that you should do if you suffer from allergies is to get a complete, thorough and up to date medical diagnosis. Not only will this diagnosis help your doctor know what the best course of action is but it will also help you to be better educated about your specific allergic reactions; what causes them and how you can manage them. In order for the doctor to really be able to help you in controlling your allergies they must first identify all of the allergens affecting you. Once they have done so they will be better able to suggest a precise plan of action.

Testing for allergic responses: In order to know what specific allergens are causing you problems, your specialist will use one or more specialized tests. Following is a brief description of some of the most important tests available in the detection and diagnosis of pet and other airborne allergens.

Prick skin test: The quickest and most accepted means of allergy testing is via the skin. It is quick and relatively safe. The allergens being tested are each placed separately on a pre-marked spot of you skin; the skin is then pricked to allow the allergen to pass through the upper layers and interact with your body's immune system. If the skin remains normal looking after about fifteen minutes then you are not allergic to that particular substance. If however the area of the prick becomes raised and itchy and/or red and inflamed then you are sensitive to that particular allergen.

Intradermal skin test: If the prick test doesn't produce conclusive enough results concerning a suspect allergen then your doctor may choose to perform the intradermal skin test. In this test a diluted solution of an allergen is injected via a fine-needled syringe just under the skin on either the forearm or upper arm. Again the tell tale sign of sensitivity to a particular allergen is if you develop a bump and reddish, itchy skin in the site of the injection.

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