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Allergy Testing

Houston Pulmonary, Sleep & Allergy Associates

Pulmonologists, Allergists, & Sleep Medicine Doctors located in Houston, TX & Cypress, TX

Allergies affect more than 50 million people in the United States, but allergy testing can help you identify specific allergens and control your symptoms. The expert team at Houston Pulmonary, Sleep & Allergy Associates, provides allergy testing for patients of all ages at three convenient locations in Cypress and Houston, Texas. Call or book an appointment online today to find out if allergy testing is right for you.

Allergy Testing Q & A

What is allergy testing?

Almost anything can be an allergen, which can make determining what you’re allergic to seem impossible. But professional allergy testing by the experts at Houston Pulmonary, Sleep & Allergy Associates can identify the specific substances that cause your allergies. They use this information to develop a personalized treatment plan to help you control your allergy symptoms.  

What are the types of allergy tests?

The team at Houston Pulmonary, Sleep & Allergy Associates, uses a variety of allergy tests to diagnose a wide range of allergies. Depending on your needs, they may recommend the following allergy tests:

Skin tests

Skin tests are the most common type of allergy testing. During a skin test, your provider places substances on your skin and may prick or scratch the surface. There are various types of skin tests.

Patch testing involves applying the substance without pricking or scratching the skin. These tests may take several days to produce results. A skin prick test involves a tiny puncture or scratch that checks for immediate allergic reactions. Your provider may also inject a small amount of allergen extract into your skin.

Blood tests

Blood testing involves drawing a sample of your blood and testing it in a lab for allergies. This method takes longer to produce results than other allergy tests and also costs more. 

Challenge tests

Challenge tests help diagnose food or drug allergies. A food challenge, or oral food test, is when you consume small amounts of foods you may be allergic to while you’re under medical supervision. During a drug challenge, your provider administers small amounts of the drug and monitors you for a reaction. 

How should you prepare for allergy testing?

Carefully review the medication lists at the links below. Follow the instructions on when to stop the medications that interfere with allergy testing.  If the medication that needs to be stopped was not prescribed by your Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist doctor, contact the prescribing doctor to confirm that you may safely stop taking the medication for the duration required prior to testing.

If you are taking a medication listed under the Beta Blocker list, it is very important that you discuss with your prescribing physician if you may change that medication for testing and long term, should you need to start allergy injections.  Patients taking Beta Blocker medications may not receive allergy injections as these medications interfere with the medications we give for extreme reactions and can result in patient injury or even death. If you are unable to change to another medication your treatment plan may need to be changed to medical management or sublingual therapy.

Are there any medications you should avoid prior to allergy testing?

Yes, some medications interfere with allergy skin testing and should, therefore, be avoided prior to your allergy testing. This includes primarily antihistamines which are found in many over-the-counter cough/cold/sinus medications, oral allergy medications, allergy nasal spray, and allergy eye drops. These medications should be held from 7 days before the appointment and until after the allergy testing is complete.

Medication Avoidance List for Allergy Testing (have linked to PDF from Patient Forms)

On the day of the test:

  • Do not drink any caffeinated beverages prior to the test.
  • Shower in the morning. Do not apply any perfumes, colognes, or scented products.
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco products for 4 hours prior to the testing appointment.

What should you expect during your allergy testing?

The allergy test will take between 1.5  2 hours to complete.

During the testing appointment, there will be a period of time between the application of the testing antigen, and when the results can be read. Please bring along a book, magazine, or electronic tablet to pass the time.

Testing is done on the arms. Please wear a short-sleeved or very loose sleeved shirt that will easily slide up to your shoulder. However, if you have sleeve tattoos or any reason you are unable to have the test done on the arms, please wear a loose pair of shorts that are able to slide up past the upper thighs. Children 5-7 years old and children 8 years or older with small arms should wear or bring loose-fitting shorts.

An initial “control test” will be performed to ensure your skin will respond properly to the testing.  If this initial test result responds abnormally you may have residual medications lingering in your body and the allergy test will have to be rescheduled for another day.

You will be required to perform a pulmonary lung function test. This screening test will help to  ensure that you do not have a lung condition that could put you at risk during the allergy testing process.

Please inform your doctor if you have asthma, a history of asthma, or any other lung condition or if you use inhaled medications.

To find out if allergy testing is right for you, call Houston Pulmonary, Sleep & Allergy Associates, or book an appointment online today.