Allergy skin testing has been shown to be a highly sensitive and specific method to detect the presence of allergy proteins (IgE) to various allergens (food, airborne, and venom). In this type of test, small amounts of allergen are introduced by pricking the skin and then noting the presence of a reaction 20 minutes later. This type of test is blocked by any form of an antihistamine taken in the preceding 5 days. If your doctor determines that allergy skin testing will be necessary, you will need to stop antihistamines for 5 days so that the test results are accurate.
Pulmonary Function Testing
In order to diagnose asthma and other similar lung ailments, it may be neccessary for patients to undergo pulmonary function testing (or PFT). In this test, patients are asked to breathe into a machine, and the computer measures their lung function. In some cases, patients may be administered inhaled medications to see how their lung function changes. When performed correctly, this test is a highly accurate assessment of your lung function and aids the physician in making a diagnosis of lung disease.
Chemical Patch Testing
Some patients have problems with acute or chronic rashes that occur on their body. In some cases, they may have a condition known as contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis can occur from contact with plants (poison ivy) or from contact with chemicals found as preservatives in cosmetics, soaps, lotions, medications, etc. In chemical patch testing (T.R.U.E. Test), patches containing certain chemicals are affixed onto the patient's back for 48 hours, after which they are removed and the test is read at 48 and 72 hours. This type of testing has been shown to be helpful in isolating the cause of many types of contact dermatitis.
Allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a proven method to help desensitize or "re-train" the immune system of allergic individuals. Allergy shots contain no medicine, just the pure extracts of the allergens to which a patient is allergic. Shots build up in strength over time and gradually allow the allergic individual to tolerate what they were previously allergic to. Shots are currently available for allergic rhinitis (pollen, dust, mold, animals) and venom allergy (bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, fire ants). Your doctor will determine whether your clinical history warrants testing and if allergy shots may be an option for you.
Some patients may be a candidate for Rush Immunotherapy, which shortens the build-up phase for allergy shots. Ask the Allergists at Mid-Cities Allergy & Asthma Clinic whether you may be a candidate for Rush.
For certain difficult-to-diagnose rashes, it may be necessary to perform a skin biopsy. In this procedure, the affected area is locally anesthetized and a small piece of the tissue is taken and sent to the lab. Skin biopsies can be very helpful in determining the cause of certain skin conditions.
Based on the the individual needs of our patients, our clinic also offers highly specialized procedures which include, but are not limited to: food patch testing, venom skin testing, oral medication challenges, drug desensitizations, and food challenges.