Easy Ways of Diagnosing Allergies

By: Rickie Smith

There are a number of legitimate approaches to diagnosing allergies. The most common method for diagnosis is the skin prick test, which involves making a small break in the skin to introduce a tiny substance that causes an allergic reaction. If the skin shows a reaction that looks and itches like a bug bite it usually will indicate an allergy to the substance.

Allergy testing is effective only when you and your allergist have a general idea of what you are testing for. Therefore, first and most critical step in any diagnosis is documenting an accurate account of your allergy attacks. Write down your allergy history before your appointment with your allergist, just in case you inadvertently leave out something that may be important for the doctor to know. The value of a detailed and comprehensive history cannot be overemphasized. If you ignore this initial step, you're less likely to identify what triggers your allergic reactions.

The puncture allergy test can be hard to bare for those who have an aversion to needles. There are hundreds of allergies that you could have and you will find that there are methods of pick testing that will test them all. You will have the allergen injected into a patch of skin and they will see if you have some type of reaction to it. The doctors will be looking for red colored skin or if the area will puff. There are other side effects that you will find that could arise, but this test will tell you what and if you have any allergies.

An alternative testing option is a blood test that detects certain antibodies, which are produced by the immune system in allergic reactions. However, this method is typically used only for people who cannot take the skin test because of a skin condition, such as eczema, or because they're taking certain medications. There are a lot of drugs, including antihistamines and antidepressants, that will interfere with skin test results.

Seasonal allergies, usually referred to as hay fever may just appear to be a stubborn cold. The symptoms will usually match the misery of a cold. But hay fever carries some telltale signs, the seasonal nature of symptoms being the primary one. In the spring, tree pollen is the major culprit in starting hay fever. In more humid areas outdoor mold can also bring about similar symptoms. In most areas of the country tree pollen can start to be a problem as early as February. Itchiness in the eyes, nose, throat and even the roof of the mouth helps to separate hay fever from a cold. Colds and hay fever also have entirely different causes.

It is very important that you identify what you can do to help your allergies. You will never know what it is that affects you until you go to the doctor and have the appropriate tests run.

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