Allergy Testing and Treatment
What are the different types of allergies?
Allergies develop when your immune system responds to a harmless substance as though it’s a foreign invader. It marks that substance as a danger to your health, and every time you encounter the same substance — the allergen — you have an allergic response.
Some of the most common allergens include:
- Contact allergens: poison ivy, soap, jewelry, latex
- Airborne allergens: pollen, mold, dust, weeds, dust mites
- Insect stings: bee, wasp, or other insects
- Pet allergies: saliva and dander
- Medications: penicillin is the most common
- Food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk
What symptoms may signal an allergy?
The symptoms you experience depend on the allergen. As one example, if you’re allergic to pollen, you have nasal and eye symptoms. Common allergy symptoms include:
- Itchy nose, eyes, or mouth
- Swelling of your tongue or face
- Runny nose
- Congested nose
- Swollen, watery eyes
- Rash or hives
- Itchy, dry, scaling, or oozing skin
- Itchy, swollen area at the site of an insect sting
- Upset stomach, diarrhea, cramping (food allergies)
Can a Primary Care Physician Cure My Allergies?
While there is no known cure for allergies, doctors have several routes to remedy this situation. First, the primary care physician will need to identify the type of allergy of the patient. Some people are allergic to foods while others are allergic to plants and pollen. An allergy test is the best and most efficient way to determine what is causing someone to have allergies. Once the source of the allergen is figured out, the primary care doctor can prescribe allergy medications or allergy shots. An allergy medication will ease the symptoms of the allergies, typically when dealing with a runny nose and congestion. For individuals dealing with food allergies or allergies to certain insects or animals, the primary method of dealing with these are to avoid the source of the allergen.
What are Allergy Shots?
We provide allergy testing and treatment. For patients diagnosed with specific allergens, a primary care center may be able to give allergy shots. These are injectables that include a tiny amount of the allergen. Over a period of allergy shots at a primary care center, the patient naturally builds up an immunity to the allergen. This helps to remedy the overall allergy, and in some case will even end the patient’s allergy symptoms.
What Should I Do When Visiting a Primary Care Clinic for Allergies?
The most important thing to tell a primary care doctor or nurse is whether or not you are being treated for allergies by another primary care center or doctor. If you are, then the current primary care doctor will want to avoid overdosing you with allergy medications. Also, if you have any history of allergies, or known allergens through an allergy test, you will want to pass this information along to the staff at the primary care facility. It will help your nurse and doctor determine the best route for preventative care and maintenance for your allergies.
What types of allergy testing are available?
Before getting an allergy test, your doctor at Southwest Family Medicine Associates reviews your medical history, asks about your symptoms, and performs a thorough examination. If you have a rash or hives, a magnified skin inspection helps rule out other skin conditions.
If an allergy is suspected, these tests can reveal the exact allergens responsible for your symptoms:
- Patch testing: small amounts of allergens placed on your skin under an adhesive coating
- Skin prick testing: after small amounts of allergens placed on your skin, the area is pricked to let the allergen get under your skin
- Blood testing: allergens are detected in blood when a skin test may be unsafe or if you have a skin condition that may interfere with skin testing