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Diagnosing Your Allergies

If the allergists at Dakota Allergy & Asthma think you have allergies, tests may be done to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of your allergies and identify your triggers. This allows us to make your allergy treatment plan and modify it as needed.

Testing for Allergies

The Skin Tests

An allergy skin test may help diagnose the cause of the allergy. Skin tests are done on the arms or back using either the prick or intradermal method.

In the prick technique, a drop of an allergy-producing substance (allergen) is applied to the skin. The skin is then scratched or pricked. In the intradermal method, a tiny amount of allergen is injected into the skin. Skin tests for most allergens are safe, and the results are available in 20 to 30 minutes. Antihistamine and antidepressant medications affect skin tests and must be stopped before tests are begun. Some antihistamines can interfere with allergy skin tests for weeks. Check with your physician about stopping medications.

Skin tests for tobacco smoke allergy are not useful because tobacco smoke is an irritant, not an allergen.

Blood Allergy Tests

Allergies can also be diagnosed using a blood test. Examples include the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) or the ImmunoCap. They give information similar to the skin test. However, they are more expensive, may miss identifying some allergies, and also take longer to determine the results. The blood test can be used when a skin test would not be suitable. For example, it can be used when a person has a skin disease which does not allow skin tests to be done, or when taking an antihistamine or other medication that might affect skin test results.

Both skin and blood allergy test results must be interpreted by a physician who is experienced in diagnosing and treating allergies and who is familiar with your medical history.

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Do I Need to See an Allergist?

Find yourself wondering if you should see an allergist for you allergy symptoms? Dr. Bubak, board certified allergist at Dakota Allergy and Asthma, will walk you through a simple allergy assessment review things like your symptoms, over-the-counter (OTC) medication options, how you respond to those options and even how you liked the OTC medications.