Allergy Testing Instructions
As a patient in our practice, you have consulted with your physician for evaluation of your ear, nose, or throat problem. There is an indication that your symptoms could be caused or affected by allergic disease. You may be considering allergic evaluation in our office. We have prepared the following information for you that you may be better informed about allergy testing.
There are several ways to test for allergies: the scratch test, prick test, inhalation and ingestion tests, intradermal tests, and RAST (radioallergosorbent test) done on a blood sample). In our office we do iteration testing using the intradermal method because we feel it is the most scientific, reliable, and safest procedure available for inhalant allergies. We also use the RAST testing when indicated. The intradermal test is done by injecting a minute amount of allergen just under the skin. The resulting wheal resembles a small mosquito bite, and after 10 minutes of observation, we measure the site. An increase in size generally indicates a positive reaction to that level of concentration. The number of tests required will depend on a patient’s prescreening questionnaire and test reactions. RAST testing, if indicated, involves drawing a blood sample from the patient and testing it at a lab (usually dictated by your insurance company).
Your testing will take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Your physician will review your completed allergy questionnaire and select which antigens to test you for from the following panels of inhalant allergens: weeds, molds, trees, grasses, select perennials which include animal hair, dust, and cockroach. We will do an initial screening panel and then, if any of those antigens are positive, a second testing session may be required to complete the panels. We only test for the antigens found in our geographic location.
The testing is done on both of your upper arms. We suggest wearing a sleeveless shirt or we can provide you with a scrub top for using during the testing session. You may eat and drink normally prior to the testing. Due to the length of time testing, please feel free to bring in reading material or a small personal device such as an iPhone or iPod if you would like to. There is a television in the allergy room for your use.
WE HAVE RESERVED A LARGE BLOCK OF TIME FOR YOUR FOR ALLERGY TESTING. PLEASE NOTIFY US AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENT OR NEED TO RESCHEDULE IT.
INSURANCE COVERAGE DEPENDS ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL POLICY. WE SUGGEST YOU CALL THEM DIRECTLY IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS AS TO YOUR SPECIFIC COVERAGE.
The Following Medications May Interfere With Testing:
- Many over-the-counter cold medications and sleep agents do contain these. These should be stopped for 5 days prior to testing.
- H2 blockers such as Zantac, Tagamet, and Pepcid”
- These should be stopped 24 hours prior to the test.
- Beta blocker heart medications:
- These need to be brought to our attention prior to the testing session so that we can discuss your medication(s) with you.
DO NOT STOP TAKING ANY OF YOUR MEDICATIONS WITHOUT FIRST DISCUSSING IT WITH YOUR PRESCRIBING PHYSICIAN
The following are fine to take:
- Birth Control
- Ginko Biloba
If you have any question as to whether or not you can use a specific medicine, please ask. Please note that Aspirin, Advil, and/or Vitamin E may increase bleeding at the test site.
EMLA Cream (Lidocaine):
Some patients become quite anxious at the thought of any type of needle stick. Therefore, you may want to consider applying a cream to the testing area of the arms to numb the skin of the area involved. This cream is called Lidocaine, or brand name of EMLA cream, and is available by prescription. The cream is highly effective when applied as directed and may or may not be covered by your insurance prescription plan. If you are interested in using the ream, please notify us of the pharmacy that you will want the prescription called in to.
Application of the cream:
For the cream to be effective, you will need to apply it generously to both upper arms from below the shoulder to just above the elbow. Make sure you include the inner arm, and that you spread it wide enough to cover the entire front of the arm. You will want to apply a thick layer NOT rub it in. Once generously applied, wrap saran wrap around the arm to keep the cream from drying out. The wrap will be removed at the time of testing. You may notice that the skin will feel warm and numb. Apply the cream and wrap one hour prior to your arrival for allergy testing.