Photo of skin allergy test being preformed by a doctorHave you ever wondered what you might be allergic to in the air you breathe? It is sometimes difficult to know. Many of us have more than one allergy. It could be house dust mites, seasonal pollens or mold. Symptoms caused by different allergens are often the same. That’s why it’s important to know the cause of what you are reacting to so you can find the best treatment.

There is a simple math equation used to diagnose allergies: clinical history + skin/blood test = allergy. If either term in the equation (in this case, clinical history or skin/blood test) is missing, the answer is not correct. To solve the equation and arrive at a diagnosis, it’ll take both you and your doctor working together.

Your clinical history is your account of symptoms over the time they have bothered you. How often do you have a runny nose, congestion, sneezing or watery eyes? What time of year are they most bothersome? How often do these symptoms interrupt your daily activities or sleep?

Your doctor can do an allergy skin test in the office or send you to a lab for an allergy blood test. Then your doctor will diagnose what you allergic to and how many allergies you have. Be aware it is common for allergy testing to show more reactions to allergens than you might expect. This may be due to “false positives.” Talk with your doctor about your symptoms and possible triggers before you consider treatment.

If you’re diagnosed with more than one allergy, your doctor will work with you to determine which allergy is most bothersome. This will help you prioritize treatment.

When you have more than one allergy, it can cause an additive effect that worsens your symptoms. Every effort to treat your allergies will help your health. Here’s an example: you are allergic to house dust mites and tree pollen. House dust mites are your most bothersome allergy because symptoms are present year-round. Everything you do to reduce exposure to house dust mites and keep your body from overreacting will strengthen your immune system.

When environmental control measures are not enough to reduce your allergy symptoms, talk with your doctor about allergy immunotherapy (AIT). AIT is the only treatment that changes the immune system and is available as either allergy shots or allergy tablets.

Allergy shots

  • The patient must visit the doctor’s office to receive injection over a 3-5 year period.
  • The extract prepared by the doctor can include more than one allergen.

Allergy tablets

  • The tablet treats one allergy — usually your most bothersome allergy.
  • You can take it at home by yourself after the receiving the initial dose at the doctor’s office.
  • Tablets are FDA approved

It is important to set your priorities when treating your allergies. Make sure you have an accurate diagnosis and that you understand what treatment options are available. The power of your allergy health is in your hands.