Long Island Allergy Testing
Long Island Allergy Testing is a part of the Heart and Health Medical Network and has four locations; Massapequa, Coram, North Babylon, and Plainview. Current and New Patients have convenient access to Allergy Testing & Treatment as well as the latest advancements in short and long-term care. The Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Team is led by renowned award-winning Allergist & Immunologist Dr. Luis Guida Jr. with 36 years of experience he is one of the most recognized medical authorities of Allergy & Immunology care in Long Island. The team at Heart and Health Allergy & Immunology will provide the most advanced Allergy Testing available as well as custom treatment plans for each patient.
Understanding Allergies & Allergens
Allergy tests are exams performed by trained allergy specialists to determine if your body has an allergic reaction to a known substance. The exam can be in the form of a blood test, a skin test, or an elimination diet. Allergies occur when your immune system, which is your body’s natural defense, overreacts to something in your environment, called an “Allergen”. For example, pollen, which is normally harmless, can cause your body to overreact and is a potential “Allergen”.
Common Allergy symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Blocked sinuses
- Itchy, watery eyes
There are three primary types of allergens:
Inhaled allergens affect the body when they come in contact with the lungs or membranes of the nostrils or throat. Pollen is the most common inhaled allergen.
Ingested allergens are present in certain foods, such as peanuts, soy, and seafood.
Contact allergens must come in contact with your skin to produce a reaction. An example of a reaction from a contact allergen is the rash and itching caused by poison ivy.
Inhaled allergies are the most common type of allergy. Many people who have inhaled allergies only experience symptoms during certain seasons. Symptoms may include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes. Pollen, grass, and mold are the most common triggers of seasonal allergies.
Pollen is a fine powder that comes from trees, weeds, and grass. Each season, beginning in the spring and continuing through the fall, the amount of pollen in the air increases. This increase may trigger allergic symptoms in people sensitive to pollen.
Avoiding pollen isn’t always as simple as retreating inside during allergy season. Other types of airborne allergens are prevalent indoors. These include fungi, mold, pet dander, dust mites.
A food allergy is a type of food intolerance in which a person’s immune system abnormally reacts to food. It’s also known as food hypersensitivity. It’s more common for children to have food allergies than adults. Food allergies are most often caused by: cow’s milk, nuts, eggs, fruit.
Symptoms of food allergies can be mild. Such is the case with hives. Hives can appear when certain foods are eaten. Most people with allergies have elevated levels of food-specific immunoglobulin IgE in their bloodstream. These are antibodies that bind to the allergen and then attach to mast cells in the skin. The mast cells in turn release histamine, which triggers a release of fluid that causes red, itchy, and inflamed skin — known as hives.
More severe symptoms of ingested allergies may include: abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash swelling of the lips and eyes which appears and disappears quickly, anaphylaxis, a sudden, extreme allergic reaction characterized by difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue or throat, and may result in death. Any food allergy can progress to anaphylaxis, even if previous exposure reactions have been mild. Children with food allergies may exhibit behavioral signs such as crying, irritability, or milk refusal.
Contact allergies occur when an allergen touches a person’s skin. The symptoms of this type of allergy are usually confined to the area of contact with the skin. Common irritants include soaps, detergents, hair dyes, jewelry, solvents, waxes, polishes, and ragweed.
Contact allergies can be very irritating but are rarely dangerous. Symptoms of a contact allergy may include skin redness, itching, swelling, scaling, blistering.
The best way to manage a contact allergy is to identify and avoid the irritant. Treatments may include creams or ointments to help calm symptoms, antihistamines to prevent an allergic reaction, and anti-inflammatory medication.
With treatment, contact allergies usually resolve in a few days. But contact your doctor if there’s drainage from a rash accompanied by pain or fever, or if red streaks emanating from the rash. These are all signs of an infection rather than an allergic reaction.
Skin tests are used to identify numerous potential allergens. This includes airborne, food-related, and contact allergens. The three types of skin tests are:
Scratch Test: an allergen is placed in liquid, then that liquid is placed on a section of your skin with a special tool that lightly punctures the allergen into the skin’s surface. You’ll be closely monitored to see how your skin reacts to the foreign substance. If there is localized redness, swelling, elevation, or itchiness of the skin over the test site, you’re allergic to that specific allergen.
Intradermal Test: This test requires injecting a tiny amount of allergen into the dermis layer of your skin. Again, your doctor will monitor your reaction.
Patch Test: This involves using adhesive patches loaded with suspected allergens and placing these patches on your skin. The patches will remain on your body after you leave your doctor’s office. The patches are then reviewed 48 hours after application and again at 72 to 96 hours after application.
If there’s a chance you’ll have a severe allergic reaction to a skin test, your doctor may call for a blood test. The blood is tested in a laboratory for the presence of antibodies that fight specific allergens. This test is very successful in detecting IgE antibodies to major allergens.
An elimination diet may help your doctor determine which foods are causing you to have an allergic reaction. It entails removing certain foods from your diet and later adding them back in. Your reactions will help determine which foods cause problems.
Medical Grade Allergy Testing vs At Home Testing
Allergy tests may help find allergies to things you eat, touch, or breathe in. They are usually skin or blood tests. However, allergy tests are not all created equal and alone are generally not enough. It is important to have a doctor’s exam and medical history first to help diagnose allergies.
Allergy tests, without a doctor’s exam, usually are not reliable.
Many drugstores and supermarkets offer free screenings. And you can even buy kits to test for allergies yourself at home. But the results of these tests may be misleading and are often unreliable creating further problems.
- The tests may say you have an allergy when you do not. This is called a “false positive.”
- These free tests and home tests for food allergies are not always reliable.
If the test says you are allergic to some foods, such as wheat, soy, eggs, or milk, you may stop eating those foods. You may end up with a poor diet, unnecessary worries and frustration, or extra food costs. If the test says you are allergic to cats or dogs, you may give up a loved pet. And tests for chronic hives—red, itchy, raised areas of the skin that last for more than six weeks—can show something that may not look normal but is not a problem. However, this can lead to anxiety, more tests, and referrals to specialists.