When to Consider an Allergy Test

More than 50 million Americans are allergic to one or more things, whether they’re food-related, environmental, or seasonal. Knowing what your allergy triggers are could end up saving your life. Getting tested is the first step.

Our providers at ENT of New Orleans, with four locations in the Greater New Orleans area, are experts in diagnosing and managing allergies. It all starts with getting tested in our state-of-the-art facilities to pinpoint which allergens are triggering symptoms in your body.

Signs of a mild allergic reaction

Mild allergies can result in sinus symptoms of many types. You could start sneezing, coughing, experiencing itchy eyes, or finding that your nose gets stuffed up or runny. These symptoms can often be caused by one or more of the following allergies:

Indoor allergies

If you have symptoms most of the time, it could be caused by indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, cockroaches, mice droppings, or even indoor mold. 

Outdoor allergies

If everything seems fine until you go outside, and your allergies are worse in the spring and fall, you may be affected by outdoor allergens, such as weed pollen, grass pollen, tree pollen, or mold spores. 

Signs of a serious allergic reaction

Serious allergic reactions typically involve swelling. This can manifest as hives or welts on your skin, swelling of your lips and tongue, or swelling of your airway (anaphylaxis). 

Food allergies

The most serious allergic reactions are often caused by foods, which can also cause severe stomach upset. Foods most commonly associated with severe allergies include peanuts and tree nuts, soy, cow’s milk, shellfish and fish, wheat, and eggs.

Getting tested

The most common way to test for allergies involves performing a skin prick test. Before we perform a test, we ask if you’ve ever had a serious allergic reaction to any substance.

Then we place a grid of up to 40 tiny squares on an area of your back. Then, your doctor pricks one square of skin with a very fine needle coated with a specific allergen. Then your doctor pricks another square with a very fine needle coated with a specific allergen, and so on. You shouldn’t be concerned about the pricks, because they’re painless, as just a little of your skin is pricked.

After about 15 minutes, any squares pricked with something you’re allergic to will have a reaction. Redness means a mild allergy. A bunch of bumps or one big hive means a more severe allergy. If you have a reaction to an allergen known to cause anaphylaxis, we’ll prescribe an Epi-Pen® and show you how to use it.

If you have allergies or suspect you do, book an appointment online or over the phone with ENT of New Orleans today.

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