Allergy Testing

Identify the true underlying cause of your sinus condition

Allergies are an important issue to address, especially if you are dealing with chronic sinus infections. Allergies can make existing sinus issues worse by causing symptoms like congestion, inflammation, coughing, shortness of breath, and more. Leaving allergies uncontrolled can lead to a reduced quality of life and poor health.

It is important to have your allergies tested to understand if they are contributing to your chronic sinus conditions. Having them tested will allow you to understand your unique allergy profile and better control your allergy health. Allergy testing should be done in conjunction with a review of your medical history and an examination by an ENT to get a custom treatment plan you deserve.

Take our sinus quiz to see how your sinus issues are diminishing your quality of life. →

You have a unique allergy profile

All individual allergy profiles are unique. While symptoms may seem to be the same or similar in different people, each person’s allergies react with their bodies differently. This is why it is important to see an ENT professional when trying to understand your allergies.

At Gulf Coast Breathe Free we can take you through the testing process and then develop a treatment plan that is unique to you.

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What is allergy testing?

Allergy testing involves testing your body for a reaction to certain allergens. There are two main types of allergy testing: Skin testing and blood testing.

Skin Prick Testing

Skin prick testing is a quick way to identify your reaction to some of the most common allergens. Skin testing will show the presence and degree of your body's reaction to allergens that may be found in common places like your home, office, or outdoors. Including:

  • Dust Mites
  • Pet Dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Common Food Allergens
Allergy testing at Gulf Coast Breathe Free

Skin prick tests are safe and not considered painful. The test is administered on the arm but can be changed to a different location depending on age and comfort level. Skin tests have been used for over 100 years and have become safer and more accurate than ever. Modern skin prick tests are like a fingernail scratch and do not penetrate the skin or cause bleeding.

To begin, the skin is cleaned with alcohol to ensure that all foreign substances are removed. Then, small marks are drawn around where each prick will be. The skin is then pricked and a solution that contains a small amount of the allergen is introduced. Two final control pricks are done last for comparison to the pricks containing the allergens. One prick is a saline solution that should not cause a reaction and the other is a histamine solution that will cause a regular skin reaction. Both will allow the doctor to compare a normal reaction of your skin to one in which an allergen was introduced.

Each allergen introduced to your skin will probably react differently. The degree of the reaction will be measured based on the skin’s response. If you are allergic to one of the pricks you will likely see a small bump known as a “wheal.” The bump will also be accompanied by a red area around it called a “flare.”

We will then be able to compare the wheals and flares of the allergies to the saline and histamine reactions. This will allow us to determine which allergens your body is reacting to and the severity of those reactions.

This test is highly accurate and will allow us to learn about your allergies and put together a treatment plan that is unique to you.

Allergic skin reaction

Intradermal Skin Testing

Certain allergens will not show a reaction on the skin’s surface during a regular skin test. These substances need to be introduced just below the skin's surface to get a reaction from the body. This is where the intradermal skin test comes into play. During an intradermal skin test, a small needle will be used to inject a little of the specific allergen resulting in a short period of mild discomfort. Some allergens that may require an intradermal skin test include:

  • Penicillin and other medication allergies
  • Insect venom (Wasps, Hornets, Bees, etc)

This test, like a regular skin test, is perfectly safe and is done with close monitoring to ensure safety and comfort.

Blood Testing for Allergies

Allergy testing is customized to fit the needs of the person being tested, their health conditions, allergy issues, and medical history. Blood testing is not as common as skin testing but there are situations that require it.

A blood test may be needed:

  • If your medication reacts with the testing - some medications that you’re currently taking may interfere and result in an inaccurate skin test. Sometimes, your physician will be able to pause your medication for a short period to perform the test but there are situations that make pausing medication unsafe.
  • If you have a certain skin condition - Conditions such as psoriasis and eczema make getting an accurate skin test difficult. In this case a blood test might be chosen as the best course of action.
  • If your allergic reactions are severe - If you have particularly strong allergic reactions skin testing may be deemed to be unsafe. Since your safety is our main concern, blood testing will be recommended as a safe alternative.

We will work with your entire medical team to ensure that your allergy test is safe and accurate.

Breathe Free - The risks of testing and treatment outside of your ENT’s office

Your allergy testing results and treatment are only as good as the place you get it done. As allergy testing has become more popular there are more people entering the allergy testing business. However, there are many factors involved in testing for allergies. Our board-certified professionals offer high quality testing as part of an overall health plan rather than just testing for allergies, giving you one treatment option, and sending you on your way. At Gulf Coast Breathe Free we put our decades of experience to work to make sure that we give you a whole view of your allergies and sinus issues.

Allergy tests should be more in depth than just performing a few pricks. We will be able to understand how your body works and responds to each allergen. This will allow us to accurately measure how your body reacts and put together a unique treatment plan that will reduce or eliminate your allergy symptoms. We have enough experience to know when an allergy test might be showing a rare false positive (when you react to something you're not actually allergic to) or rare false negative (when you don't react to something you are allergic to). There are also times in which an allergy may be identified but not have a negative impact on the body. Therefore, you should only trust highly trained ENT professionals. We have the experience to understand the results and develop a treatment plan that is unique to you.

Your treatment plan may include any of the following:

Allergy Medication - Over the counter or prescription medications may be used to control your symptoms depending on their severity and your overall goals. These will not treat your allergies, but they may help control the symptoms.

Allergy Immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops) - If you want to treat your allergies in the long term rather than just controlling symptoms, immunotherapy should be something you consider. During immunotherapy, your body is introduced to a little of your allergen over a long period of time to “retrain” your body to identify it as harmless.

This is the only form of treatment that treats your allergies rather than controlling symptoms.

Learn more about immunotherapy here. →

Medical Procedures - Allergy sufferers are normally impacted by other sinus issues that make their allergy symptoms worse. This can be anything from sinus infections, sleep disruption, and other issues that impact the ear, nose, or throat. The safe, affordable, and non-invasive treatment options for your medical needs can go hand-in-hand with your allergy plan in order to complete a comprehensive solution.

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For Allergy Testing: Trust Gulf Coast Breathe Free

The professionals at Gulf Coast Breathe Free can understand how your allergies, sinuses, and other medical conditions work together. This allows us to create a custom treatment plan that is tailored to you and your needs, giving you the best care possible.

From allergy testing to sinus issues, we have you covered.

schedule an appointment today!