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Allergy Testing

By Louis Neipris
1/15/2013 11:18:26 AM

It's a simple cause and effect. Every time you sweep or vacuum you sneeze. That's a dust allergy, right? So why do you need allergy testing? The truth is that allergic conditions are often not that straightforward. And even that example doesn't tell the real story. Why? Because it's not just dust, but millions of particles from one or more sources (dust mites, pet dander or pollen) to which you may be allergic. Allergy testing can sort out what exactly is causing your symptoms. With the results of the tests, you know exactly what to avoid.

Photo courtesy of voteprime

What are the allergy tests?

The two main types of allergy tests are skin testing and a blood test also called RAST (radioallergosorbent test).

Why would I need allergy testing?

If you have allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, swelling and wheezing, an allergy test can be done to identify which specific substances (allergens) trigger an allergic reaction.

Skin tests are done to diagnose:

-Allergic rhinitis

-Allergic asthma

-Allergy to penicillin or medications

-Venom allergy

-Allergic contact dermatitis

If you have a skin condition or take certain medications that may interfere with skin testing results, doctors may use a blood test to pinpoint allergies instead.

Continue to myOptumHealth.com for more information on allergy testing.

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