If you are experiencing undiagnosed allergic reactions, then receiving allergy testing can help pinpoint the culprit allergen or allergens. Request an appointment at one of Vanguard Medical Group’s primary care locations or contact Dr. Debora Geller, Vanguard’s Pediatric and Adult Allergy, Asthma and Immunology specialist to discuss the possibility of receiving allergy testing
What Is Allergy Testing?
An allergy test is an exam performed by a trained allergy specialist to determine if you are allergic to one or more substances. There are three major categories of allergy tests, including skin tests, blood tests, and elimination diets.
As you likely know, allergies occur when our immune systems overreact to target substances called allergens. This overreaction can cause different symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes, stuffed sinuses, and more.
For some of the 50 million Americans living with allergies, it eventually becomes necessary to undergo allergy testing to diagnose allergic conditions, such as:
- Hay fever
- Allergic asthma
- Food allergies
- Bee venom allergy
After getting your test results, you can take confident steps towards living a life without the discomfort of pesky allergies.
How Are Allergy Tests Performed?
Before one of our allergists administers testing, they will first take a history to learn more about your lifestyle and previous medical conditions. They will also request that you stop taking some medications, including certain heartburn medications, antidepressants, and more, that can interfere with testing. Once you are adequately prepped, one of our allergists will perform one of the three different allergy tests on you to diagnose your condition.
For this test, our allergist will prep your forearm or back by drawing a grid with equal, labeled sections. Then, they will place different liquid allergens in each section using a tool that lightly punctures the surface of your skin. If there is a reaction in any section, potentially causing redness, swelling, and itchiness, then you are likely allergic to that substance. This type of test provides results in anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, although delayed reactions are less common.
If one of our allergists suspects that you will receive a severe allergic reaction to one or more allergens, they may request a blood test. For this type of allergy test, a sample of your blood will be tested for the presence of antibodies. If they are present, then you have an allergy. It can take several days to receive these results from the lab.
As the name implies, an elimination diet involves systematically removing certain foods from your diet and then re-inserting them. Depending on your reactions, an allergist will be able to interpret whether you are allergic to one or more foods.
Allergy Testing Risks
Before undergoing allergy testing, it’s important to know the potential risks you could face as a result. While some side effects are to be expected, including itchiness, redness, swelling, and bumps (called “wheals”), others are less common.
Some rarer side effects of allergy testing include severe allergic reactions, making it important to work with professional allergists. However, if you experience a severe reaction or develop symptoms of anaphylaxis, including throat swelling, difficulty breathing, fast heart rate, or low blood pressure, after leaving your Vanguard Medical Group office, call 911 immediately to get emergency medical treatment.
After Care with Vanguard Medical Group
Once your allergies have been successfully diagnosed, one of our allergists will continue to work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. As a hub for some of the best physicians in New Jersey, Vanguard Medical Group will provide you with the high quality of allergy care that you deserve.
Contact Vanguard Medical Group Today
Whatever your allergy care needs, Vanguard Medical Group has the resources to help. Located throughout Northern and Central New Jersey, we help patients in Emerson, Denville, Glen Ridge, Verona, North Haledon, Lincoln Park, Jersey City, Cranford and Randolph. Dr. Geller is located in the Emerson, Verona (Grove Ave.), and Cranford offices, and she is accessible to all Vanguard patients and new patients. Request an appointment online or call your local office today.