The diagnosis of respiratory allergies is based on clinical history, physical examination and allergy testing.
It is important for individuals to be properly diagnosed in order to receive adequate medical care.
If left untreated, allergic rhinitis symptoms can increase, leading to a spiral of worsening co-existing conditions (source: Hadley JA, et al. Comorbidities and allergic rhinitis: Not just a runny nose. J Fam Pract 2012;61(2):S11-5).
How is allergy diagnosed?
The diagnosis of respiratory allergies is based on clinical history, physical examination, allergy tests and specific questions (sources: www.allergyuk.org (last accessed on May 11, 2016); Valovirta E, EFA Book on Respiratory Allergies - Raise Awareness, Relieve the Burden. www.efanet.org (last accessed on May 18, 2016).
Identifying the causal allergen can be an important step in taking control of allergies, allowing individuals to reduce exposure to the substances that trigger symptoms (source: www.allergyuk.org (last accessed on May 11, 2016).
Two diagnostic methods are available for medical practitioners to identify the triggering allergens in individuals: blood tests and skin prick tests (also called scratch tests).
- Blood tests: allergen blood tests detect allergen-specific antibodies in the blood. Blood test results are available in a few days.
- Skin prick tests: via a prick to the skin, the individual is exposed to the suspected allergen and monitored. After approximately 15 minutes, the skin is observed for any signs of reaction to one or several of the allergens, such as redness, swelling or itching.