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Allergy Testing

A Plus Medical

Internal Medicine Physicians located in Takoma Park, MD

Allergic reactions can range from mildly disruptive to life-threatening. To avoid them, it helps to know what causes them for you. At A Plus Medical in Takoma Park, Maryland, internists Eric Aigbedion, MD, and Bunmi Adewunmi, CRNP, provide skin scratch allergy testing with fast results. They can refer you to a specialist for treatment if the test finds that you have an allergy. Book your allergy testing appointment by phone or online at A Plus Medical today.

Allergy Testing Q & A

What are allergies?

Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to something in your environment, causing bothersome or even deadly symptoms. This happens because your immune system makes substances called antibodies to fight certain invaders, like bacteria and viruses. If your immune system makes antibodies against certain allergens, you’ll get a reaction when you come into contact with them. Common allergens include:

  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold 
  • Weeds
  • Latex
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Soy
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Nickel
  • Certain medications

Allergic symptoms can vary based on the allergen causing them. Food allergies, for example, can cause swelling in your face and throat, hives, or trouble breathing. Allergies from pollen, pet dander, and other airborne substances can cause sneezing, itching, and eye-watering. 

Serious allergies can cause an intense reaction called anaphylaxis, which causes your body to go into shock. You need emergency care if your allergies cause anaphylaxis. 

What is allergy testing?

The physicians at A Plus Medical provide allergy testing to help you identify the substances causing your allergic reactions. In order to test you for allergies, they must scratch your skin and expose you to your suspected allergen. 

To perform the test, your provider scratches the skin on your forearm with a needle that hardly penetrates the surface. The needle forces a small sample of your potential allergen into your skin. The scratch is so shallow that you won’t bleed, and you might not even feel discomfort. 

Next, your provider scratches two more substances into your skin in the same place: histamine and glycerine or saline. Histamine helps induce the skin response that happens if you’re allergic to the original substance. Glycerine or saline can show if you have sensitive skin and can help confirm the diagnosis or show that it was a false diagnosis. 

You’ll get your test results within 15 minutes. Once you have your diagnosis, the A Plus Medical team refers you to a specialist for treatment. 

When should I get an allergy test?

You should consider getting allergy testing if you’ve had a mild to moderate reaction to food, pollen, mold, or weeds of any kind. Even if you’re not sure what caused your allergic reaction, you can get allergy testing to rule out some of the possibilities. The A Plus Medical team advises against skin scratch testing if your reaction was severe or life-threatening or if you have a sensitive skin condition like eczema or psoriasis.

The results of your allergy test can help you avoid allergens and a resulting allergic reaction in the future. 

If an allergic reaction occurs, call A Plus Medical or book an appointment online for allergy testing today.