Many people who have chronic sinus issues are actually suffering from nasal allergies. Identifying your allergies is a key part of finding lasting relief. When it’s likely that a nasal allergy is behind your symptoms, an allergy skin test can help us learn your triggers and create a treatment plan for you.
What Happens During Testing?
The most common test for identifying allergies is the skin prick test. This test allows us to test you for allergic reactions to up to 40 substances at a time. Typically, the test will include the most common nasal and food allergies, such as mold, pollen, dust mites and pet dander.
The test does not hurt. The allergens are put on tiny lancets that just barely penetrate the skin’s surface. This does not cause bleeding. At worst, there is usually some mild discomfort. On adults, the test is usually done on your forearm. Children are usually tested on the skin of their upper backs.
We start by cleaning the test site with alcohol and then drawing small marks on your skin and applying allergens. Then, the lancet is used to allow the allergens to penetrate the skin’s surface. We’ll also typically apply histamine and either glycerin or saline to ensure that the test works properly. Histamine will almost always cause a skin reaction and the inert materials almost never do. By seeing your reactions to these, we can be sure that the test works on you.
In most cases, we’ll be done with the allergy skin test in 20 to 40 minutes. We’ll monitor your reaction to the test to see which substances cause a reaction. In some cases, a reaction will be seen in minutes. In others, a delayed reaction may develop over a period of a few days. Small wheals on your skin will develop where we have applied substances that trigger your allergies, allowing us to determine what triggers your symptoms.
What Do We Do with What We Learn?
We will discuss the results of your test and what we’ve learned about your allergy triggers. From there, we can develop a treatment plan that will help you find lasting allergy relief.
Treatment of allergy symptoms almost always starts with conservative measures. In some cases, reducing or eliminating your exposure to an allergen will be part of your treatment. “For someone with dust mite allergies, this may involve using anti-dust mite coverings on pillows and washing bedding more frequently,” says Dr. Shah. Our doctor may also prescribe antihistamines and decongestants to reduce allergy symptoms.
In some cases, balloon sinusplasty can be the key to relief. By allowing sinus passages to drain more effectively, we can help you avoid painful sinusitis and allow other treatments to work more effectively.
Are you plagued by nasal allergies? You don’t have to suffer! We can find the cause of your symptoms and create a treatment plan that will allow you to feel more like yourself. Get in touch today for a consultation.