One in five Americans has been diagnosed with environmental allergies, but more than 50% of people have admitted that their allergies affect them daily. If you are one of these people and you haven't been tested for them yet, you should get tested for allergies right away.
Once you have a diagnosis, you and your doctor can discuss the options you have to get you back on your feet after a stint with allergies taking you out of work or family functions. No one should have to deal with the stuffy nose and itchy eyes that come with an allergic reaction.
Continue reading to learn more about environmental allergies and environmental allergy tests.
What Are Environmental Allergies?
People can be allergic to environmental factors such as mold, pollen (from trees, grasses, and weeds), pet dander/saliva, dust mites, and even secondhand cigarette smoke.
Having a food allergy to things like soy, milk, or nuts can be considered an environmental allergy. It's also possible to be allergic to bee stings and latex. Coming into contact with these things can cause anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition that requires an EpiPen injection and immediate medical attention as treatment.
When you come into contact with one of these allergens, it sets off a series of symptoms that may make you miserable until you treat it. These allergies can trigger asthma attacks and other asthma symptoms.
Environmental Allergy Signs & Symptoms
The most common symptom of environmental allergies is allergic rhinitis ("hay fever") which often causes:
- Itchy, water eyes
- Nasal congestion (with sneezing and runny nose)
- Shortness of breath (with chest tightness and coughing)
- Sore throat
Environmental allergies (especially food allergies in children) can cause hives and itchy skin. Those who suffer from environmental allergies can also feel fatigued after an allergy attack.
Causes & Risk Factors for Environmental Allergies
Certain risk factors may cause you to develop these allergies, including:
- Having family members with environmental allergies
- Having asthma
- Having other allergic conditions
When children have a genetic predisposition to an allergen, they can develop an environmental allergy when they go through prolonged exposure to the allergen. This means that the allergies developed due to their genetics (from their parents) and were exposed to the allergen over time.
People with asthma are also more likely to develop allergies. Those with other allergic conditions will most likely develop allergies to multiple things.
Diagnosis With Environmental Allergy Tests
Are allergy tests accurate? At-home allergy tests are not reliable. On the other hand, Ulta Lab tests are drawn by and performed in a lab by trained phlebotomists. At Ulta Lab Tests, we have a series of IgE blood tests to test for environmental allergies, including:
Tests from Ulta Lab Tests are available to anyone who wants to know what environmental factors are triggering their allergies. They are available without a referral from your physician or health insurance (and they are still affordable!).
So, How Do Allergy Tests Work?
When you have an allergy, your immune system overreacts to a foreign body and produces antibodies to fight it off even though it isn't actually harmful. The IgE antibodies, also known as Immunoglobulin E, produce chemicals, such as histamine, which causes an allergic reaction.
An allergy test mimics this response in a controlled environment. In an IgE blood test (like the ones mentioned above), the blood sample is taken by a phlebotomist and then sent off to a lab where the allergens are added to it. The lab is then able to measure the IgE antibody levels.
The skin prick test is similar to the blood test but is directly performed on the patient rather than in a lab.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Environmental Allergies
When should I get an allergy test done? If you find that your allergies are taking over your life, it's probably time to get tested. Once you know what is causing your allergy problem, you will be able to take preventative measures.
How are allergies treated? By avoiding your triggers, you will notice you aren't having as many symptoms. If it's not possible to avoid them, there are several treatment options when it comes to treating allergies. Once you and your doctor know what is triggering your allergies, they will be able to prescribe allergy medications or allergen immunotherapy.
How do I know if it's allergies or a cold? While colds and allergies may both cause you to have a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and/or itchy, watery eyes, allergies don't come with aches and fevers. These are usually associated with colds. If you aren't achy and feverish, it's safe to say that you might, in fact, be dealing with an allergic reaction of some sort.
Get Started Today
If you feel miserable thanks to environmental allergies, you shouldn't put off getting tested and talking to your doctor about any treatment options. You don't have to continue feeling under the weather whenever you come into contact with your dreaded allergen.
Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable so that you can make informed decisions about your health:
- Secure and confidential results
- No insurance or doctor referral is needed
- Affordable pricing
- 2,100 patient service centers across the nation
- 100% satisfaction guaranteed
Order your environmental allergy tests today, and your results will be available between 24 and 48 hours (for most tests)!
Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.