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Allergy Testing

How is allergy testing done?
Allergy Testing Austin | Skin Test Austin TX

Here at Sinus & Snoring Specialists, we test for allergies using two methods. The simplest way to test for allergies is with skin testing. Skin testing involves placing tiny doses of the common allergens in the superficial skin. This can be done at the Allergy Center in our office in Austin with the most modern and quick multi-pressure testing device. Allergy skin testing does NOT require any needles and is painless. Within 15 minutes we will have the results of your skin test and we can formulate the ideal allergy therapy for the patient.

We also test for allergies using blood testing (RAST). Blood testing (RAST) can be used for those that cannot have skin testing.

Who Is a Candidate for Allergy Testing?

Anyone who experiences allergy symptoms can be a great candidate for allergy testing. Allergy symptoms can be the typical “acute phase” of allergy such as watery and itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. Alternatively, the allergy symptoms may be more from the “delayed phase” which is from swelling. These patients typically complain of congestion, sinus pressure and infections, headache, post nasal drip, snoring, and sleep apnea.

Since our allergy testing does not involve any needles it is well tolerated even in very young children. If you or your child are suffering from symptoms that coincide with allergies, you may be a good candidate for allergy testing for a better understanding of the allergens that are causing the reaction and more effective therapy.

Allergy Signs and Symptoms

Allergy symptoms can be confused with viral infections such as the common cold. Common allergy symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Sinus pressure
  • Sinus infection
  • Snoring and sleep apnea

If you frequently suffer from some of these symptoms, allergy testing in our office can help you understand if allergy may be the actual cause.

Do Allergy tests hurt?

Fortunately, modern allergy testing does not require any needles and is virtually painless. It is very well tolerated, even for children.

How long does Allergy Skin Testing take?

Allergy testing is very quick only takes about 30 minutes which includes the testing as well as reviewing your allergy history form. This history is very important because many times patients have significant allergies isolated to the nose and they won’t be detected on skin testing or blood testing. This disorder is called LAR (local allergic rhinitis).  Frequently these patients may have had testing in the past and have been told they “don’t have allergies” or the have “non-allergic rhinitis”. It’s actually a very common condition and it responds to allergy drop therapy just as effectively as patients who’s allergy testing is positive. We get a detailed history from our patients to make sure any allergens that cause symptoms are included in the allergy drops even if that particular allergen isn’t positive on testing. Side Effects of Allergy Testing

The allergy skin testing we do with the multi-pressure device is extremely safe. The skin test does cause a small area of contact allergy at the site of application. Side effects of allergy skin tests include itchy skin for a few hours. In very rare cases, more serious reaction may occur with a systemic allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. We have all of the appropriate measures immediately available in our Allergy Center to treat the patient if this were to occur. Patients are able to return to work or school immediately after testing.

Side Effects of Allergy Skin Tests

The allergy skin testing we do with the multi-pressure device is extremely safe. The skin test does cause a small area of contact allergy at the site of application. Side effects of allergy skin tests include itchy skin for a few hours. In very rare cases, more serious reaction may occur with a systemic allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. We have all of the appropriate measures immediately available in our Allergy Center to treat the patient if this were to occur. Patients are able to return to work or school immediately after testing.

Allergy Treatment Options

Here at Sinus and Snoring Specialists, we offer two common treatment options for allergies. One option is Sublingual Immunotherapy, or allergy drops (add internal link). This is a convenient option for patients who don’t have the time to schedule multiple appointments for allergy shots. This is also a great option for patients who have a fear of needles. Another option is Subcutaneous Immunotherapy, or allergy shots (add internal link). This form of therapy has been the more traditional form of therapy in the United States in the past. Allergy shot therapy carries considerable negatives versus allergy drops including inconvenience, local pain and irritation at the shot site, a risk of severe reaction (anaphylaxis), difficulty being compliant, and a much longer period before it becomes effective in reducing the allergy symptoms. In most cases allergy shots are also more expensive as there are copayments usually due with each shot. For these reasons most of our patients will typically choose allergy drop therapy. Most patients can stop allergy drop therapy after three years of treatment when they have reached immunity.

Over the counter medicine is also always an option for those who have minor allergies. These can include nasal sprays, saline rinses, antihistamines, and decongestants. It is important to understand that allergy medicine does not block the allergic reaction from happening like allergy drops. Medicine allows the allergic reaction to occur and then tries to cover up the symptoms. It is not very effective, has side effects, and is needed indefinitely.

Allergy Testing for Children

The only requirements from our patients are the ability to be still and understand the allergy testing process. The age this occurs varies from child to child but most children can easily be tested by age 5. If they are too young to be tested by skin testing we can still do blood (RAST) testing or simply formulate the allergy drops based on what historically bothers them.

What to Avoid Prior to Allergy Testing

Our office will give you a detailed list of medications that need to be stopped before testing and for how long. Antihistamines, some antidepressants, some nasal spray, among other medicines are included in that list. Patients must also be off of Beta Blockers for 2 days prior to testing. Patients can safely take Beta Blockers while being on allergy drop therapy.

Schedule an appointment

For more information on allergy testing using a skin test or blood test, or to schedule an appointment, call our office at (512) 601-0303 today! Sinus & Snoring Specialists serves Austin TX and surrounding areas.


Sinus & Snoring Specialists is proud to be a designated Center of Excellence for Balloon Sinuplasty.   
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