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Asthma: Allergy Testing

If you often have allergy symptoms, allergy testing can be helpful. It can help figure out if your symptoms are from allergies. Allergy symptoms can include:

  • Itchy and watery eyes

  • A runny nose

  • Wheezing

  • Sneezing

  • Itchy skin

For some people with asthma, allergies may not affect their nose or eyes. Instead, allergies trigger their asthma symptoms. In some cases, you can tell what you are allergic to. For example, your symptoms may only happen in the spring or fall. But you may need allergy testing to figure out other allergies. 

The healthcare provider will test how you react to allergens. These include:

  • Dust mites

  • Pets

  • Mold

  • Tree, weed, and grass pollen

  • Cockroach droppings

  • Many other substances

Sometimes allergy testing is done with a blood test (IgE). Or it may be done with a challenge test. For this test, you inhale the allergen or take it by mouth. But more often, you have skin testing. There are 2 types of allergy skin tests. One is the skin prick test. The provider pricks your skin using a needle with a small amount of allergen. If you are allergic, the spot will get red, swollen, and itchy. The other test injects a small amount of allergen under the skin.

If you think allergies may trigger your asthma, talk with your healthcare provider about getting tested. Knowing what you are allergic to is helpful. Then you can stay away from the allergens. Your provider may suggest that you get allergy shots (immunotherapy). These can help reduce your allergy and asthma symptoms.

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