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Allergy testing and treatment are a vital part of modern medicine, particularly as allergies become more prevalent in society. At Cunico Health & Wellness, we understand the impact of allergies on your daily life and on your body’s inflammation. Our goal is to help you identify and manage your allergies. Our multidisciplinary team of medical professionals uses the latest technologies and treatment methods to identify allergens and manage your symptoms.
What Are Allergies?
If you experience discomfort and distress after coming into contact with certain substances in the environment, you may have allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, as many as 40 to 50 million people in the United States have allergies or asthma. An allergy is when your immune system overreacts to a typically harmless substance, known as an allergen, in your environment. This overreaction often manifests in a range of uncomfortable and sometimes severe symptoms, depending on the type of allergy.
Allergens can be present in various forms, including inhaled allergens like pollen, which are the most common. Ingested allergens like peanuts, shellfish, and soy are also common. Contact allergens, such as those found in poison ivy, can cause a reaction on the skin. It’s essential to identify the type of allergen that triggers your symptoms to manage them effectively. Allergy testing is a helpful tool in identifying the specific allergens causing your symptoms, allowing you to avoid or manage your exposure to them.
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Skin rashes or hives
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
- Shortness of breath
- Joint Pain
- Body Aches
- Wheezing or coughing
- Stomach cramps or diarrhea
- Nausea or vomiting
- Headache or fatigue
- Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction that affects the whole body)
- Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Animal dander, such as from cats or dogs
- Insect bites and stings, including from bees, wasps, and mosquitoes.
- Foods, such as peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, and soy
- Medications, such as antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Latex, often found in rubber gloves and balloons.
- Chemicals, such as those found in fragrances, cleaning products, and pesticides.
Allergy Testing: Scratch Test
Allergy testing is essential in identifying the allergens that cause your symptoms. A skin scratch test is a common method to test for allergies. Your healthcare provider will clean the skin on your upper back. During your allergy testing, we will apply a small amount of suspected allergens and use a scratch device to introduce them beneath the skin.
After about 20 minutes, your healthcare team will check for an allergic reaction, typically a raised bump or swelling at the site. The size and appearance of the reaction can help determine the severity of the allergy. Skin scratch tests are generally safe and minimally invasive, making them a practical and effective way to identify specific allergens.
Risks & Testing
Allergy testing is generally safe. As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks, but the benefits of allergy testing outweigh these risks. The most severe risk associated with allergy testing is anaphylactic shock, but this is rare, and our healthcare team is prepared to handle any complications that may arise. Overall, allergy testing is a safe and effective way to identify specific allergens and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
While a skin prick test is a safe and minimally invasive method of allergy testing, there are some possible side effects. A positive test result can cause a swollen bump or hives at the test site, typically fading within a few hours. In rare cases, a whole-body reaction can occur, but this is uncommon. Your healthcare provider can help you manage any side effects and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Insurance coverage for allergy testing and treatment can vary depending on the specific plan. While most insurance plans cover these services, it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance provider to understand the specifics of your coverage. At Cunico Health & Wellness, we’re committed to working with patients to help them understand their insurance benefits. Our team can assist with insurance verification and provide guidance on coverage options.
Allergy Treatment: Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is an allergy treatment that exposes the patient to gradually increasing doses of the allergen over time, helping the immune system become less sensitive to the allergens. Immunotherapy can reduce or eliminate allergy symptoms for many patients. The benefits can be long-lasting, and some patients experience a complete resolution of their allergy symptoms.