Health Library

Asthma: Allergy Testing

If you often have allergy symptoms—such as itchy, watery eyes; a runny nose; wheezing; sneezing; or itchy skin— allergy testing can help determine if your symptoms are from allergies. Some people's allergy symptoms don't include their nose or eyes, but mainly their asthma acts up. Sometimes you can tell the allergic substance because of the time that your symptoms happen in the spring or fall, for instance. But you may need specific allergy testing to figure out other allergies. 

The healthcare provider will test how you react to allergens. For example, dust mites, pets, mold, tree, weed, and grass pollen, cockroach droppings, and many other substances.

One type of allergy testing is the prick technique. During this test, the provider will make a small prick in your skin with a needle that has allergen extract on it. A very small amount of the allergens is then in the skin. If you are allergic, the spot will get red, swollen, and itchy. A more sensitive type of test uses a small needle to inject allergens under the skin.

If you think you may have allergies that are triggering your asthma, talk with your healthcare provider about getting tested. Knowing your allergies helps you make changes to avoid them. Your healthcare provider may suggest that you get allergy shots—also known as immunotherapy—to decrease your symptoms.

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How Much Do You Know About Stroke?

Stroke is a leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Find out more about stroke by taking this quiz, based on information from the AHA and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

1. What is another name for a stroke?
2. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain.
3. Which of these is a symptom of stroke?
4. Which of these lifestyle factors plays the biggest role in increasing the risk for stroke in younger adults?
5. If a person has an ischemic stroke, how quickly should the person be treated to minimize long-term problems?
6. Which type of medicine is given to help prevent a stroke?
7. Which of these may be a long-term problem after a stroke?
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