Is it really an allergy? How you can tell

Maybe it's watery eyes, stuffy nose, hives or itchy skin. Whatever they may be, your symptoms have you wondering if you're allergic to something. Finding out isn't all that difficult.

"The skin test consists of placing drops of the testing material on the skin,taking a sharp instrument and simply poling the skin through the drop," explained Dr. James Lee, an allergy epert at the Mayo Clinic. "And then we'll wait 15 minutes and see if there is a red swelling that develops under the drop or if there's no swelling."

Dr. Lee says a second option is to have a blood test.

"We draw blood through a vein and send it to a laboratory. In the lab we can check for allergy producing antibodies," he said.

Sometimes, both tests are needed to determine the person's sensitivity and then to devise a treatment plan.

By the way, experts say many people think they have a food allergy, but when they're tested, they don't.

More Info:


Allergy Skin Tests


Food Allergies: Reducing the Risks

Allergy Triggers Checklist