Understanding How a Doctor Uses Patch Testing to Diagnose Allergies

For most people, the world is a beautiful place; however, if you have allergies, the world can feel less inviting. Approximately one-third of the population suffers from allergies at some point during the year, and many people even deal with chronic allergies year round. Allergies can be slightly annoying to life-threatening. When over-the-counter medications no longer help, it’s time to turn to a specialized allergist to find Allergy Asthma & Immunology Relief.

At an allergist appointment, the doctor will do a number of tests to pinpoint and treat your specific allergies. Patch Testing is one of the most common tests used. These patches help determine if a specific allergen causes a skin reaction. The doctor will apply an allergen to a patch, which is then stuck onto the patient’s clean skin. If several allergies are suspected, multiple allergens may be tested at once. Each patch can test for up to 40 different allergens. The patient is instructed to leave the office and wear the patches for two days. After 48 hours, the doctor will remove the patches and evaluate the skin for allergic reactions.

Patch testing is a very accurate way of determining which substances are causing grief. If the skin is irritated after wearing a patch, the doctor will notate this. Red or raised skin signifies an increase in histamine levels, which correspond to an allergic response. Histamine is a chemical produced by the body to combat dangerous substances. Sometimes, however, the immune system mistakes otherwise non-threatening substances as dangerous, and the body has an allergic reaction. After removing a patch, severely irritated skin indicates a strong allergic reaction, while a smaller reaction is indicative of a less severe allergy. Some common allergies that are included in this type of test include latex, metals, dyes, and medications. Of course, your doctor can customize your test for different substances.

If you find yourself dealing with allergies on a regular basis, consider scheduling an appointment with an allergist. After they determine what substances spark an allergic reaction in your body, they can help you treat them. Whether the doctor prescribes stronger allergy medications or recommend monthly allergy shots, there is a treatment plan that will help you live without fear of an allergy attack.