What You Need to Know About Allergy Testing
What Is an Allergy?
An allergy is a condition of having an exaggerated response to an aeroallergen, an otherwise harmless airborne substance.
- Allergic Rhinitis: Commonly known as hay fever, symptoms may include nasal congestion, runny nose and eyes, sneezing, and itching
- Allergic Conjunctivitis: When your eyes are exposed to an aeroallergen trigger, you may experience itching, burning, redness, swelling, and excess tear production
- Asthma: People with Asthma will often suffer from a worsening in asthma symptoms when exposed to an aeroallergen trigger such as red, swollen airways, thick mucous production, chronic cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath
Know Your Triggers
When an allergic person encounters a trigger such as pollens, spores, moulds, animal dander, house dust or mites, the immune system reacts by releasing chemicals called histamines, which cause allergy symptoms.
If you suffer from rhinitis, conjunctivitis, or asthma, allergy testing can determine which specific aeroallergens trigger your symptoms. Modern allergy treatment is simple, safe, and effective.
If a clearly identified trigger is found, one treatment option to prevent future symptoms is immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops)
Immunotherapy, taken as either a shot or a drop, is a safe and effective method to prevent repetitive allergic disease and can offer long-lasting relief and even a cure for many people.
How Can I Access This Service?
This service is available at select Appletree Medical Centres. Appointments are required.
Book Your Appointment
The following schedules vary frequently, always consult our website to view the most up-to-date availability. Allergy Testing appointments are available at the following Appletree Medical Centres:
What to Expect During Your Appointment
An allergy assessment begins with a questionnaire to document the history of the problem and relevant environmental factors. Once the history is documented a skin prick test is done on the forearm to identify which allergen is causing the problems.
Patients will be asked to complete a Pulmonary Function Test to determine lung function.
15 minutes after the skin prick test is completed, the forearm will be reviewed to evaluate the reaction(s).
The doctor will review the results of your skin test and pulmonary function test to determine what is the best course of action – no further action required, symptomatic treatment, or immunotherapy.
After Your Appointment
If immunotherapy is determined to be the best course of action, the prescription will be faxed to the pharmacy. The pharmacist will call you to finalize the order and it will be shipped to your preferred location within 6 weeks.
When your immunotherapy serums are received in clinic, we will call you to come in to start your treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a referral?
Is there anybody who shouldn't have an environmental allergy test?
If you are taking any of the following medications or have any of the following medical conditions:
Beta-blockers (medications ending in “olol”)
Blood-born virus (HIV, Hepatitis etc.)
Asthma that is not well controlled
How often can I be tested?
OHIP covers 1 allergy test per year
How should I prepare for the test?
Bring a list of all medications that you take. 72 hours prior to the appointment, stop taking;
Antihistamines: Claratin, Reactin, Allegra, Benadryl, Clarinex, Aerius, Zaditor, Alocril, Patinol
Decongestants: Cold and Sinus Medications
Tricyclic/Tetracyclic antidepressants: Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline, Amoxapine, Desipramine, Doxepin, Imipramine, Maprotiline, Protriptyline, Trimipramine
Anti-Acids: Pepcid/Famotidine, Axid/Nizatidine, Zantac/Ranitidine, Tagamet/Cimetidine
If possible, avoid taking any puffers on the day of the test. Wear clothing that you can easily expose your forearms.
What allergens are included in the test?
Inhalants: House Dust, Dust Mites, Cockroac
Animals: Cat, Dog, Guinea Pig, Horse, Birds (mixed feather), Mouse, Rabbit
Moulds: Mould mix, Botrytis, Fusarium, Dreschelera, Phoma, Stemphylium, Smuts, Aspergillus, Alternaria, Cladosporium, Epicoccum, Neurospora, Mucor, Penicillium, Pullularia, Rhizopus
Tree Pollens: Tree mix, Ash, Beech, Birch, Elm, Maple, Oak, Poplar, Sycamore, Willow, Alder
Grass: Grass mix
Weeds: Ragweed mix, Cocklebur, Goldenrod, Marsh Elder, Sage, Dandelion, Kochia, Lamb’s Quarters, Nettle, Pigweed, Plaintain, Russain Thistle, Sorrel