Allergy testing involves having a skin test to find out what substance, or allergen, may trigger an allergic response in a person. Skin tests are usually done because they are rapid, reliable, and generally less expensive than blood tests.
An allergy is an inherited physical condition of unusual sensitivity that certain individuals may develop to a substance that ordinarily does not cause problems. These substance, or allergens, can be taken into the body by eating (food), inhaling or by direct contact (environmental), or on or in the skin.
When the body is exposed to an allergen, cells on the lymph glands produce antibodies to attack the allergen. The unusual sensitivity (allergic reaction) may not appear immediately, but may develop after the person has been exposed more than once. After these antibodies are developed, further contact with the allergen produces further antibody-antigen (allergen) reactions, and the release of histamine causes irritation in the sensitive tissues of the nose, eyes, bronchial tubes or digestive tract.
Testing and Treating Your Allergies are performed by our Physicians Assistants. Testing will consist of pricking the back or scratch test with the offending allergen, as well as measuring the degree of sensitivity to that particular allergen by the Physician Assistant. Before applying the scratch tests, the skin is cleaned with an alcohol swab and allowed to dry. A special instrument slightly scratches the skin of the back or arm, and a different allergen is applied on each scratched area. In 20 to 30 minutes, the allergen test drops are swiped off the surface of the skin, and the Physician Assistant checks each test site and notes the reaction of the skin to each allergen.
Treating: Once the responsible allergens have been found, desensitizing solutions can be made up to alleviate the symptoms of the patient. These solutions are made from the allergens that cause the problem, and are mixed on an individual basis for each patient. This solution, or vaccine, is given in small volumes at first, from daily to every five to seven days, with gradual increases in volume and quantity of allergens injected. With the increase in dosage, and over a period of time, the tolerance of the body is increased to these particular allergens.
Scheduling can be done directly with Jennie Kowaleski, PA-C, at our Blue Ridge office location on regular scheduled work days. Please call 919.781.7500 to schedule an appointment.
Prior to allergy testing, please fill out the Allergy History Questionnaire below.