Health&Wellness Magazine May 2016 - Page 36

36 & May 2016 | Read this issue and more at | Like us @healthykentucky Testing for Allergies Allergists use three main methods By Charles Sebastian, Staff Writer Allergies are a hot topic for people who live in the Bluegrass area. It seems as soon as the spring pollen and blooms die down, the autumn mold and mildew start. While there is no doubt there are allergens all around us and they are probably worse in some areas of the country and the world than others, the real question is how these allergens are affecting the individual. We’ve all had a conversation with someone who was not allergic to poison ivy or shellfish when they were in their teens, only to find at age 45 these formerly harmless items make them break out, throw up or zap their energy. Usually doctors testing patients for allergies will start with the general allergies and then increase specificity. Starting with a family history, the allergist may find out someone smokes or has a longhaired cat, and that can sometimes solve the mystery of the allergic problem without the use of skin pricks and probes. However, some doctors insist on doing the whole treatment to discern whether other allergies are affecting and even combining forces to waylay the patient. There are three main skin tests: the skin prick test (IgE Skin Test), the intradermal test and the skin patch test. With the skin prick test, the skin is lightly pricked so the allergen can come into contact with the blood. If it results in a raised or splotchy area, called a wheal, the person is probably allergic to the substance. The allergist will recommend the patient remove the food from his or her diet.