Even if you’ve never had allergies before, you can develop new ones as you age. Your body and your environment constantly change, making it common for people to develop food and/or airborne allergies later in life. If you suspect you are having allergic reactions, don’t waste years trying to self-diagnose. Instead, talk to your physician about allergy testing, or contact us to seek care at our WWMG Allergy clinic
Airborne Allergy Testing
After drowning your eyes in eye drops, taking every kind of over the counter medication you can get your hands on, and shooting messy nasal spray in your nose, it may feel like you’ve tried every possible option to alleviate your allergies. But have you had your allergies formally tested?
Airborne Allergy Prick Test
At WWMG, we test 33 inhalant antigens through a simple, two-step method. All 33 antigens are specific to the Northwest (including Eastern Washington).
Among others, the antigen panel includes Northwest-specific substances that include:
- Cat and dog dander
This extensive panel helps us determine which local allergens are causing adverse reactions.
Step 1. Upper Back Application Test
We begin the testing process with the application of the antigens on the upper back. We then observe and measure how the skin cells react to the allergen. This first step includes a 17-minute period of observation to see the severity of the individual’s reaction to each antigen. The goal of testing the antigens on the skin of the upper back is to trigger a minor allergic reaction(s) to gain a preliminary idea of the patient’s allergies.
Step 2. Upper Arm Intradermal Test
Information gathered from step one helps the provider determine how to proceed in this step of the allergy test. The intradermal test is a series of injections of the antigens, administered just under the first layer of skin. The injection sites are observed for about 10 minutes, and reactions are monitored.
Airborne Allergy Blood Test
Blood testing is not as accurate, but it provides a good alternative to the skin testing, especially for patients who have difficulty with needles, such as small children. This test requires just one blood draw, and immunotherapy prescriptions can be made based on the results of the test.
Food Allergy Blood Test
With labels like “gluten-free”, “lactose-free”, and “peanut-free” assigned to foods, it’s becoming common for people to self-diagnose their own food allergies. This is a dangerous trend, as the elimination of certain food groups can easily lead to a deficit in important vitamins and minerals. If you suspect you may have food allergies, contact our allergy clinic for a blood test.
Food allergy testing is done through skin or blood testing. If your results show that you have high sensitivity to certain foods, your provider will then work with you one-on-one to design a plan to eliminate allergies from your diet.
Patch Test Allergy Testing
Patch testing is a helpful way to determine if a specific substance is causing an allergic inflammation of your skin, such as hives. We can test for sensitivity to 35 substances commonly found in detergents, perfumes, make-up, and other chemicals found in your everyday environment.
PrePen Pennicilin Allergy Testing
At WWMG, we offer the only FDA approved skin test for the diagnosis of penicillin allergy. If you believe you are allergic to penicillin, or if you are unsure about your allergy status to penicillin, talk to your healthcare provider to determine if our PrePen penicillin allergy test may be right for you.
Benefits Of Allergy Testing
There are many benefits to knowing your exact allergies. It gives you the ability to develop a specific prevention plan, to anticipate your allergy season, to change your environment to eliminate harmful allergens as much as possible, and to seek specific treatment.
At WWMG, our allergy testing includes extensive education and valuable tips on how to allergy-proof your environment. We provide tips about how to check your home for mold, how to treat your home for dust, how to keep your pets free from pollen, how to use specific materials to cleanse your home of harmful allergens, and how to eliminate certain foods from your diet without sacrificing essential vitamins and minerals.
One allergy treatment option that some patients choose is immunotherapy. Immunotherapy helps your body build a tolerance to allergens over time. It is not used for food allergies, but it is a viable treatment for airborne allergens.
Immunotherapy can be administered via allergy shots or sublingual drops. Immunotherapy can be a powerful defence against allergies. According to Becky Epperson, head of the allergy department, “If they decide to start immunotherapy, a prescription is individualized based on their testing results.”
Allergy Testing At WWMG
At WWMG, we were voted the Best Allergy Provider in the 2016 Herald Readers’ Choice Awards for our comprehensive allergy testing. Our allergy clinic is located in our Department of Ear, Nose & Throat, Allergy, and Audiology, and is led by Dr Becky Epperson, DNP, ARNP, our family nurse practitioner who has over 20 years of nursing experience and who specializes in Allergy Care. Her goal is to improve the quality of life for each of her patients that struggle with seasonal and chronic allergies. For more information on allergy testing at WWMG, contact us.