Over 50 million people in the United States each year experience allergy symptoms. That’s over 15% of the population! It’s no wonder that allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness here as well. Allergies are also the most common medical condition in children. Many adults walk around feeling “blah”, foggy, and congested (like a cold that never goes away), without even realizing these symptoms are caused by allergies.
The cost of allergies is not just in human suffering. The AAFA estimates that almost $45 billion is spent on allergy care each year. That’s a huge chunk of change!
So, what’s the best way to deal with allergies if you do have them? Like with so many other things, knowledge is power. The first step to truly getting control over your allergies is to find out exactly what is causing them. For that, you’ll need to complete an allergy test.
What is Allergy Testing?
Allergy tests are diagnostic tools that identify a patient’s allergic triggers. There are several different types of allergy tests. The skin prick test, the most common type of allergy testing, is what we do at TLC Medical. The skin prick test used at TLC Medical includes 72 of the most common allergens, including grasses, trees, and pollens found in this area of Florida, common food allergens, and a host of other common household and environmental allergens.
During a skin prick test, the nurse will clean your back with alcohol. Next, she will apply the test devices to the skin. Each device has small plastic prongs that make tiny pricks on the skin. The prongs do not actually break the skin. They merely help the allergen make contact with the skin in a way that will test for an allergic reaction.
After about 15 minutes, your doctor will interpret the results of the skin prick allergy test. If a raised, red, itchy bump (known as a wheal) appears on any of the marks, then an allergy to that trigger exists.
What Triggers are Tested During an Allergy Test?
As mentioned before, 72 different substances are tested during our skin prick allergy test. The most common allergy triggers to test for include:
- Airborne allergies
- Dust mites
- Food allergies
Other Types of Allergy Tests
There are other types of allergy tests that are gaining in popularity among the masses.
Intradermal skin tests are popular if a skin prick test is inconclusive.
Patch tests are popular to determine the cause of contact dermatitis.
Blood tests, also known as IgE tests, measure levels of IgE antibodies for different triggers in the blood.
Finally, challenge tests involve the patient actually swallowing a small amount of a suspected food allergen. Challenge tests must only be done under the supervision of a medical professional since anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction could occur.
Allergy Testing in Tampa Bay
Are you having allergy symptoms, but not sure what is causing them? A quick and easy allergy test can give you the answers you need to take control of your health. At TLC Medical, we can perform allergy testing right in our offices, with no referrals required. Just give us a call at (813) 874-1852, contact us online, or walk right into any of our three convenient Tampa Bay locations.