An allergy is an overreaction by your immune system to something you touch, eat, or breathe in, that's radically out of proportion to the threat the substance poses.
Substances that provoke an allergic reaction are called allergens, and most don't pose any threat to your health. Even the more unpleasant or painful allergens like insect venom aren't in themselves a health risk.
However, the allergic response your body produces could pose a genuine threat to your health and might, in some cases, be life-threatening. Your provider at Goodlife Physical Medicine might recommend allergy testing if you have chronic or recurring problems typical of an allergy.
Symptoms of allergies do vary to an extent, but some of the more common ones include:
If you have a severe allergy, you could go into anaphylaxis. This can cause rapid and alarming facial and throat swelling that could close off your airways.
Anaphylaxis can also cause difficulty breathing, blue skin or lips, lightheadedness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, so call 911 right away.
For non-emergency symptoms of allergies, Goodlife Physical Medicine offers expert allergy testing to identify the cause and help you avoid symptoms.
Almost anything in your environment is a potential allergen, but it's most likely that you're allergic to one or more familiar substances such as:
When you come in contact with substances you're allergic to, your immune system attacks them as it would a virus or bacteria, causing these unpleasant symptoms.
The Goodlife Physical Medicine team uses two allergy testing methods:
This method tests the most common allergens. Your provider makes small punctures in your skin using a plastic scratch device, applying a tiny amount of the potential allergen to the scratch.
If there's redness in the test area, it means you have an allergy to that substance. Scratch testing is painless and only takes about 20 minutes. Your provider can determine what you're allergic to immediately.
In some cases, your provider uses an outside allergy laboratory to test a sample of your blood. Results from this type of allergy testing can take 1-3 days.
Once testing confirms the cause of your allergy, your provider can draw up a treatment plan to reduce your symptoms.
One of the main approaches used at Goodlife Physical Medicine is administering allergy shots. These are injections of tiny quantities of the allergen that helps your immune system become more tolerant.
To find out more or book an allergy test, call Goodlife Physical Medicine or schedule an appointment online today.