Get Answers with Allergy Testing

About 60 million Americans suffer from allergies, with symptoms like sneezing, coughing, itchy or watery eyes, and even hives or nausea. Even though your symptoms might be unmistakable, the cause of allergic symptoms isn’t always so obvious.

Of course, unless you know what’s causing those symptoms, it’s hard to treat them — and pretty much impossible to do anything to avoid your triggers. With allergy testing at Primary Care Associates, our doctors can identify your allergic triggers, tailoring a treatment plan that’s focused on your unique needs.

If you’re having allergy symptoms and you’re not sure why, here’s how allergy testing could help you feel better.

Types of allergies

When most people think of allergies, they tend to think of “hay fever” — seasonal allergies caused by pollen and spores. While seasonal allergies are certainly widespread, they’re not the only cause of allergic reactions. Other potential causes include:

Allergic reactions happen when a substance (or allergen) triggers an overreaction in your immune system. In turn, your body responds with sneezing, hives, swelling, itching skin and eyes, and other reactions. Many allergens are harmless to most people, only causing reactions in hypersensitive people to that specific substance.

Allergy testing: How it works

Identifying the cause of your allergic reactions is the key to finding relief. Once the allergens are identified, our team can tailor a treatment plan specifically for your needs and symptoms.

Before testing starts, our team will perform a physical exam and talk to you about your allergic symptoms, home and work environments, and when allergic symptoms tend to appear. We’ll also review your medical history, any medications you’re taking, and the severity of your symptoms over time.

Allergy testing uses a simple skin test to evaluate some of the most common allergens that could be causing your symptoms. The doctor maps out a grid on your skin, usually on your back. Each square of the grid is treated with a tiny amount of allergen. 

Then the doctor evaluates your reaction to each allergen to determine what’s causing your symptoms. After your test is complete, our team will design a management plan aimed at helping you find relief for your allergic reactions.

Treating allergies

Probably the best way to manage allergic symptoms is to avoid your triggers whenever possible. That might mean avoiding certain foods, changing your medications, or using a HEPA filter in your home or workplace.

Of course, avoiding triggers isn’t always possible. To help minimize allergic reactions, we may prescribe oral medications or inhalers to help you manage your symptoms. For severe allergies that could interfere with breathing, you may need to carry a special device that injects medicine to stop the reaction. 

Immunotherapy may also be an option. In this approach, you’ll be injected multiple times with a tiny amount of purified allergen extract, gradually increasing the dose to help you build up a tolerance. Some immunotherapy uses drops placed under your tongue instead of injections. Immunotherapy is kind of like a vaccine that works against allergens instead of viruses and germs.

Don’t let allergy symptoms take a toll on your summer fun. Call our office in Frederick or Clarksburg, Maryland, or book an appointment online and let our team help you feel better.

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