An allergy test is a diagnostic test that helps determine what your body is allergic to. It usually involves a skin prick or blood test. Allergies are common and can affect anyone at any age, including toddlers. They occur when your immune system overreacts to certain environmental conditions or substances such as food and pollen. This overreaction can cause nasal blockage, sinuses, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and wheezing. If you often experience any of these symptoms out of the blue, consult an allergy testing duluth specialist to determine the cause of your allergic triggers. Following these five preparation tips would be helpful if you want to get tested for allergies.
- Schedule the Test When You Are Symptom-Free
It is important to schedule your allergy test during a time in the year when you are symptom-free. For example, avoid an allergy test during winter if you are asthmatic. Going for an allergy test with allergic symptoms often leads to inaccurate results. It can also worsen your allergy symptoms and lead to other health complications. Therefore, ensure you are symptom-free before your first appointment with your doctor.
- Discontinue Antihistamines for a Week Before Testing
You must avoid taking your antihistamines for at least seven days before your allergy test. These medications often affect the accuracy of your skin prick test by blocking the inflammatory cascade.
Examples of antihistamines include Claritin, Allegra, Xyzal, Benadryl, Piriton, Zirtek, and Telfast. Also, avoid over-the-counter cough and cold medications that contain antihistamines. If you have questions about your medications, do not hesitate to ask your doctor before the test.
- Wear Comfortable, Loose-Fitting Clothing
Wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes for skin testing. Since this test involves pricking your fore and upper arm with tiny needles, it is best to avoid wearing tight or restrictive attires. Wearing comfortable clothes also allows your doctor to check your vital signs and breathing rate easily.
Also, ensure your clothes are clean and dry to avoid contaminating the allergens being tested by your doctor. If you are wearing cosmetics or jewelry, it is advisable to take them off before your appointment as they could interfere with the test results.
- Avoid Strenuous Exercises Before Your Appointment
It is always best to avoid strenuous exercises for at least two hours before your appointment. This is because exercise can increase the spread of allergens faster due to increased blood flow to your tissues. Also, vigorous activities increase your risk of an allergic reaction which could be potentially dangerous during the test. Therefore, it is best to delay your exercises for a few hours before and after your allergy test.
- Eat and Drink Normally Before Your Appointment
Before your allergy test, ensure to eat something and drink plenty of water. That way, you will be able to concentrate fully and remain engaged during your test. However, avoid foods or drinks that might trigger an allergic reaction, as this can cause an inaccurate reading on the test strip and result in a false positive diagnosis. If you are uncertain about the foods that cause your allergies, consult your doctor a day or two before treatment for a proper diagnosis.
Preparation is key to getting the most from allergy testing. With the tips mentioned above, you can reduce your risk of an allergic reaction during testing and get back on track with life as soon as possible. Also, proper preparation allows you to get accurate results from your doctor. After your doctor determines the cause of your allergic reactions, they can prescribe an effective treatment plan to manage or avoid them. However, if you are anxious about what to expect during your allergy testing, do not hesitate to ask questions from your doctor.