Charlottesville Allergy & Respiratory Enterprises
434-295-ASAP (2727) 1524 Insurance Lane, Suite B, Charlottesville, Virginia 22911

Allergy Testing in Charlottesville

If you have an allergy, your body is reacting to something you may have inhaled, touched or ate. Such agents that trigger an allergic reaction are called allergens. Reactions to these allergens may range from being annoying to life-threatening. Individuals with untreated allergy symptoms are often not aware of how significantly better they can feel after their symptoms are properly diagnosed and managed by an allergist.

Benefits of Allergy Testing: Allergy tests, when combined with the specialization and precision of your allergist to interpret them, can give accurate information about what you are allergic to. After a thorough history taking, exam and allergy testing, you and your allergist will team up to develop a treatment plan to manage the allergy symptoms. Allergy testing is a fairly safe and accurate procedure for both adults and children. Some of the common agents that may be responsible for the allergy symptoms include dust mites, molds in home or air, tree, grass and weed pollen, and proteins found in dander, saliva and urine of furry animals. On the other hand, more serious allergies can be caused by venom from stings of bees, wasps, fire ants, yellow jackets and other similar insects.

Common symptoms for suspected allergies: The following symptoms may prompt your Allergist to recommend skin testing:

  • Respiratory system: These symptoms may include itchy nose or throat, often accompanied by itchy eyes; nasal congestion, watery eyes, runny nose, congestion in the chest, cough or wheezing or problems with breathing
  • Dermatological: The presence of itchiness of skin, generalized bumps or hives, atopic dermatitis
  • Abdominal: Diarrhea, constipation and cramping after eating certain foods
  • Severe reactions to insect stings
  • Anaphylaxis: a serious allergic reaction that affects many parts of the body at the same time

Types of Allergy Tests: The allergen extracts that are used for performing allergy tests meet the requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Allergy tests are categorized into the following:

Skin Testing: Skin testing is the most common way of performing an allergy test. It involves a small prick on the skin surface to deliver a very small amount of allergen and is relatively painless. In individuals with allergy to that particular introduced agent, a little swelling will occur. In such patients, these reactions typically occur within 15 minutes. It is likely that such individuals will not have any other symptoms other than the swelling discussed above. This symptom often disappears within 30 minutes. However, if these skin tests are negative, but your physician suspects allergies, he or she may recommend the more sensitive intradermal test which involves injection of a small amount of allergen within the skin. These skin tests are done in your Allergist's office to allow for observation and management in case of any rare adverse effects.

Challenge Tests: Challenge tests may involve ingestion or inhalation of a very small quantity of the suspected allergen. These tests are often done with food or medication allergies and are monitored by your Allergist.

Blood Tests: As the name suggests, these tests involve drawing blood and as a result, the results may not be as quickly available as the skin tests.

(Information only; not intended to replace medical advice; adapted from AAAAI)