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If you are like a lot of people, you are allergic to something. For most people, allergies mean itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose. But for some, allergic reactions to such things as bee stings or nuts can cause a life-threatening reaction. Whether your allergies are dangerous or just inconvenient, the Heart & Lung Clinic at St. Alexius can help.
For people suffering from allergies, testing can be done to determine what is triggering an allergic reaction. Skin tests are the most common test done because they are rapid and reliable. During a skin test a small amount of a substance or allergen is placed on or below the skin to see if a reaction develops. There are three types of skin tests:
Skin prick test: this test is done by placing a drop of a solution containing a possible allergen on the skin. A small needle prick allows the solution to enter the skin. If the skin develops a red, raised, itchy area (called a wheal), it means that the person is allergic to that allergen.
Intradermal test: this test is done by injecting a small amount of the allergen solution into the skin. This test may be done if the skin prick test does not cause a reaction but is still suspected as an allergen for that person.
- Skin patch test: for this test, the allergen solution is placed on a pad that is taped to the skin for 24 to 72 hours. This test is used to detect a skin allergy called contact dermatitis.
Tests and Treatments - Allergy
Immunotherapy or Allergy ShotsImmunotherapy is a series of allergy shots given to reduce your sensitivity to allergens that cause a reaction. Small doses of allergens are injected under the skin and over time can decrease the severity of your reaction to allergens. Immunotherpay can be used to treat allergies to insect stings.Skin testsSkin tests may be used to diagnose allergies to certain substances. The test is done on the back or the arms. The skin is pricked with one or more small doses of allergens that might cause an allergy. The swelling and redness at each site is measured to see which allergens cause a reaction.
Disease Management - Allergy
An allergy refers to an over-reaction by the immune system in response to contact with a foreign substance. This foreign substance, or allergen, is usually seen by the body as harmless. Some examples of allergens include pollens, dust mite, molds, danders and foods. When the allergen comes into contact with the body, the immune system develops an allergic reaction in some people.Certain parts of the body are more prone to react to allergies including the eyes, nose, lungs, skin and stomach. The Allergy Clinic at St. Alexius can test and treat many types of allergies including allergies to animals, food, insect stings, medicine, latex and seasonal allergies.