Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. Although allergies are so common, that does not mean that diagnosing and treating them is a simple affair. However, medical professionals who specialize in allergies are able to perform tests that help to identify different types of allergy and provide effective treatments. Dr. Andrew J. Pestcoe is an otorhinolaryngologist at The Head and Neck Center, P.C located in Bethlehem, PA. One of his specialties is diagnosing and treating allergies—read on to learn how he can help you.
The Two-Step Process of Allergy Diagnosis
There are two essential steps to allergy diagnosis.
- Medical history: Your medical history can provide your doctor with as much helpful information as the allergy tests themselves. Important details include:
- Past and current health conditions
- Any family history of allergies
- Medications you take on a regular basis
- How long you have been experiencing symptoms of an allergy
- Allergy testing: Along with medical history, allergy skin testing is the most common method for allergy diagnosis. Your doctor will prick the surface of your skin with a tiny amount of allergen. This test can be used with common allergens such as:
- Plant pollens
If you are allergic to one of the substances, your skin will appear red at the site of the prick. If the results from the prick test are not clear, an intradermal test may be used to inject a small amount of allergen under the upper layers of your skin.
In some cases, your Bethlehem doctor may recommend an allergy blood test rather than a skin test. For example, if you are taking certain medications that may interfere with allergy test results or if you have a serious skin condition. In this case, the sample will be sent to a lab and examined for allergen antibodies.
If you live in Bethlehem and you suffer from allergies, call Dr. Pestcoe today at (610) 691-2552 to make an appointment for a consultation.