If your patient comes to your healthcare facility with a headache, watery eyes, nasal congestion, or a runny nose, how do you determine the root cause of these symptoms? Shortness of breath, wheezing, chronic coughing, and a sore throat could be due to a wide range of conditions.
Keep reading to discover why allergy testing is important, how it’s done, and why you should entrust it to Clarity Labs.
Why Should You Prescribe Allergy Testing?
If your patient’s symptoms persist for longer than 3-10 days, you might as well check the common flu off the list of possible illnesses. You should advise your patient to do allergy testing if their symptoms do not include a high fever that lasts for several days.
While a sinus infection often comes with a runny nose, it doesn’t usually cause watery eyes, so if your patient has problems with itchy eyes, it could be because of an allergy. Both bronchitis and allergies share such common symptoms as coughing, so allergy testing could help you exclude the possibility of an allergy.
Two Types of Allergy Testing
A skin test and an allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) test are two ways to verify whether your patient has an allergy.
There are three main types of skin tests that exist. One is the allergy scratch test, in which tiny droplets of specific allergens are placed on a patient’s skin. Any allergic reactions will become evident as small red bumps within 15 to 20 minutes. On the other hand, an intradermal test is a more thorough method of detecting an allergy. It is performed by injecting an allergen under the patient’s skin.
An allergy patch test uses adhesive bandage-like patches that contain trace amounts of particular allergens. The patients wear these patches for 48-96 hours. If your patient has an allergy, a rash will appear.
The allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) test measures the levels of diverse IgE antibodies, which are specialized proteins produced by the immune system. Usually, antibodies are present in the blood in minor quantities. Yet their quantity surges when your patient’s body reacts to allergens. A blood test allows for the discovery of an underlying allergy because IgE antibodies are different depending on what they react to.
How Do You Prepare Your Patient for Allergy Testing?
If your patient takes medications like antihistamines and antidepressants, these may interfere with the test results. Advise them to refrain from these prior to testing. It’s also important to note that patients with certain skin conditions, such as extensive eczema or psoriasis affecting the arms and back, might not be suitable candidates for a skin test.
If your patient expresses concerns about skin test risks, you can reassure them. The test is painless, with the primary side effects being temporary redness and itchiness at the test sites.
If you need your patient tested for an allergy, you can rely on our experts at Clarity Labs to perform high-quality allergy testing. Certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and CAP-accredited, we proudly operate in compliance with all governmental regulations. Contact us today to learn more about our services!