In order to find out what you are allergic to and the required diagnosis, you need to undergo some allergy tests or observe the visible symptoms. Allergy symptoms appear when the immune system tends to overreact to something that is normally harmless to most people. It triggers a reaction in people who are highly sensitive to the source. The substance that causes the allergy is called an allergen. Allergies can be caused by food, pet furs, dust, chemical, etc.
How to Find What You are Allergic To
1. Symptoms of Mild Allergies
- Dry, scratchy throat
- Watery and red, itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Dry cough
- Constant sneezing
- Nausea and vomiting
2. Symptoms of Severe Allergies
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Inflammation of the face, tongue, and eyes
- Severe heart palpitation
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Fear or anxiety
A severe and sudden allergic reaction can occur and develop immediately within a few seconds of exposure to the allergen. Such type of severe reaction is called anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening(1).
The symptoms include:
- Sudden drop in blood pressure
- Swelling of the respiratory airways
- Breathing problems
Without treatment, the patient can die within 15 minutes of the allergic reaction. In a situation like this, one needs to be taken to the emergency immediately.
[ Read: Ways to Avoid Skin Allergies ]
3. How To Find Out Your Allergy
To determine what you are allergic to or what has caused the symptoms you need to undergo tests.
The commonly used methods of testing allergies are as follows:
a. Skin Testing
It is the most efficient and widely used method of testing to determine the cause of allergic reactions. There are different ways of doing it, but usually involve a small part of the skin being exposed to various substances you might be allergic to.
Skin tests are best in determining: food allergies, penicillin allergy, venom allergies like that of mosquito bites or bee stings, contact dermatitis caused by touching an allergen, animal dander, pollen, and mold allergy.
b. Elimination Type Tests
This kind of test involves eliminating certain allergens from the environment and introducing them to observe if any allergic symptom occurs. Many times doctors use allergens to counteract allergic reactions. They may even inject them into your body as a form of testing or treatment.
c. Blood Tests
Here the blood is checked for antibodies against allergens. Blood testing is done when skin testing fails to give a result. There are specific IgE tests to identify antibodies against specific allergy triggers.
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People, who are diagnosed with anaphylactic reactions, are prescribed injectors, like a kit called EpiPen. This injector contains epinephrine. If one gets exposed to an allergen, he or she should immediately inject themselves with the medication.
Secondly, one should stay away and avoid getting exposed to allergens that may cause reactions. Thirdly, carry emergency medication with yourself. Antihistamines, like diphenhydramine (Benadryl)(1), can help in controlling mild allergic reactions.