Are allergies causing my sinus issues?
You are constantly dealing with chronic sinus issues, but are you aware that allergies could be making your symptoms worse? Allergies cause congestion, coughing, inflammation, shortness of breath, and more. Your reduced quality of life could be due to your untreated allergies.
To find out what allergies are contributing to your sinus issues, an allergy test should be performed by an ENT. An ENT will understand your complete allergy profile, and along with a comprehensive physical exam and medical history background, will create a treatment plan that aligns best with your goals.
What is an allergy test?
An allergy test is a form of testing where you are exposed to specific allergens in a controlled environment to see how your body reacts. There are a few different types of allergy tests. Your medical history and which specific allergens you are testing for will determine the type of test administered.
Skin Prick Allergy Testing
A skin prick allergy test is the most used form of allergy testing. It can easily identify your body’s reactions to the most common allergens including:
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Food allergies
Skin prick tests are typically administered on the arm and are not painful. They have been around for over 100 years and are safe and accurate. Patients do not experience any pain while undergoing a skin prick test since the skin is not penetrated or causes bleeding–it’s like a fingernail scratch.
Before your allergy skin test, the skin is thoroughly cleaned. Small marks are made on the arm to indicate where each allergen is placed. Next to each allergen, there will also be a control prick with a saline solution that will not cause a reaction and a second prick containing a histamine solution. These two additional pricks will allow the ENT to determine the severity of any allergies.
As the allergens are introduced into your skin, they may each react differently. The degree of your skin’s response is based on the “wheals” and “flairs” produced by the allergen. A wheal is the red bump on your skin, and the flair is the red area around it.
Once the skin prick test is complete, a comprehensive overview of your allergen profile is compiled to help determine the best treatment plan.
Intradermal Skin Allergy Tests
Intradermal skin testing is used when certain allergens do not show up on a skin prick test. During an intradermal test, a small needle is used to introduce a foreign substance just below the skin’s surface. While this may cause mild discomfort, it is completely safe and will accurately determine your allergies. Some allergens may require an intradermal skin test, including, for example:
- Insect venoms like wasps, hornets, or bee stings
- Penicillin and other medication-related allergies
Blood Testing for Allergies
In some cases, a blood test may be the safest option for you. Your doctor might decide a blood test is right depending on your medical history, allergy issues, and current health. Common reasons a blood test is used for allergy testing include:
Current medications react with skin testing – some medications may interfere with accurate skin testing. Under the supervision of your doctor, you may be able to stop your medication for a short period. If this is not deemed appropriate, a blood test is recommended.
Skin conditions – skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, can make it hard to accurately use skin prick testing for allergies.
Severe allergic reactions – if you have a history of severe allergic reactions, a blood test may be safer for than skin testing.
The only way to determine which type of allergy test is best for you is to schedule an appointment with Pittsburgh Sinus Centers for a consultation.
What are the risks of undergoing allergy testing?
As with any procedure, there are risks associated with allergy testing. The most important thing to realize is your allergy testing is only as good as the place you get the testing done. There is rising popularity with pop-up allergy testing centers that promise results. However, these allergy centers are not equipped to perform a comprehensive exam in addition to an allergy test.
A comprehensive medical exam is imperative when it comes to accurate allergy testing. Sometimes, your symptoms may be caused by other sinus issues such as a deviated septum or nasal airway obstruction. At Pittsburgh Sinus Centers, you will receive the best allergy test type for your needs and a complete medical exam to rule out any other sinus issues.
What are my allergy treatment options?
Your allergy treatment plan from Pittsburgh Sinus Centers will be unique to your allergies and goals. Allergy treatment plans may include:
Allergy Medication – for mild to moderate allergies, medications may be the easiest and best option. Antihistamines and nasal sprays can provide effective symptoms relief, but they will not treat the underlying causes of your allergies.
Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is the long-term solution for allergies. Through the process of immunotherapy, a small amount of your allergen is introduced to your body to retrain its response. Immunotherapy is not just symptom relief; it is long-term allergy relief. It is offered in two forms: either shots or allergy drops. Which type of is best will be determined through your consultation, testing, and goals.
Medical Procedures – There is a good chance you are suffering from other sinus issues if you suffer from allergies. Conditions like sinus infections and other ENT issues will need to be addressed to fully complete your allergy treatment plan. Medical procedures may be required to fix a nasal obstruction before you can truly experience relief from your allergies.
Allergy Testing and Treatment with Pittsburgh Sinus Centers
We understand your frustration with your seemingly never-ending allergy issues. We have the knowledge and experience to create a comprehensive treatment plan for you so you can get back to living your life.