Skin Allergy Testing in Manhattan
What are allergies?
Allergies are your body’s reaction to a substance when it views it as harmful. The substances that cause these reactions are called allergens. More than 50 million Americans have some type of allergy. Finding out what you’re allergic to through comprehensive allergy testing is the first step to finding effective allergy treatment. Our allergy doctors in NYC can perform a wide range of tests to diagnose certain types of allergies.
How are allergy tests conducted for diagnosis?
Diagnosis will always begin with a comprehensive medical history and physical exam. Other diagnostic tools include tests such as:
- Skin Prick Test (SPT) – Skin prick testing can confirm many common types of allergies. During this type of testing, small drops of the possible allergen are placed onto the skin, usually on the back or forearm. A needle will then be used to lightly prick or scratch the skin. If you are sensitive to the substance, you will develop redness or hives, swelling and itching at the test site within 15 minutes.
- Allergy Blood Tests – An allergy blood test, also called RAST testing, is usually performed if a patient is taking certain medications that can interfere with skin testing or if a patient suffers from certain skin conditions. Using a small blood sample, a patient can be screened for a wide range of allergies.
- Patch Test – A patch test is used to determine what allergen may be the cause of contact dermatitis. A small amount of an allergen is placed on the skin and is then covered with a bandage. The reaction is checked after 48-96 hours. If you are allergic to the substance, a local rash will develop.
How are allergies treated?
Based on the results of your allergy testing, a personalized plan of care will be developed for you. Treatment plans for allergies may include:
- Medications – There are a variety of medications that may be recommended for the treatment of allergies. Decongestants and antihistamines are the most common allergy medications. Corticosteroids may also be effective at treating inflammation in your nose.
- Immunotherapy – Also known as desensitization or allergy shots, immunotherapy is a medical treatment that may be appropriate for treating certain types of allergies.
- Lifestyle changes – You may be advised to make some changes to your activities and your work or home environment in order to reduce symptoms.
- Dietary changes – Changes to your eating habits may also be recommended in order to improve your condition.
What are the signs and symptoms of allergies?
Allergy symptoms are classified as mild, moderate, or severe:
- Mild allergic reactions include rashes or hives, itchiness, watery/red eyes, hay fever, and runny nose. Mild reactions do not spread to other parts of the body.
- Moderate allergic reactions include symptoms that spread to other parts of the body. These symptoms can include itchiness, hives and/or swelling, and even trouble breathing.
- A severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis, is a life-threatening emergency in which the body’s response to the allergen is sudden and affects the whole body.
What are some common allergens?
Many substances can be allergens or cause allergic reactions. Some of the most common allergens include:
- Airborne pollutants
- Certain foods
If you have any symptoms that may warrant allergy testing, the first step is scheduling a consultation at Park Avenue Medical Professionals. Our physicians offer comprehensive allergy testing and treatments for a wide range of allergies. We are known for our compassionate care and personalized approach. Schedule an appointment today by contacting our office at 212.427.2000. You can also make an appointment by filling out this form.