Allergen Testing 

An allergy is when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. It could be something you eat, inhale into your lungs, inject into your body or touch. This reaction could cause coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. In severe cases, it can cause rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble, asthma attacks and even death.

Types of indoor and outdoor allergies include sinus swelling, seasonal and returning allergies, hay fever and nasal allergies. Many people with allergies often have more than one type of allergy. The most common indoor allergy triggers are:dust mitescockroaches, and cat and dog dander.

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What Do We Test For?
Dust Mites, Cockroach, Dog and Cat Dander

Dust Mite Allergy

If you have allergies or asthma, a tiny creature living in your home could be making big problems for you. Although you can’t see them, you may be having an allergic reaction to them. They are dust mites and they live in many homes throughout the world.

Dust mites may be the most common trigger of year-round allergies and asthma. They are on every continent except Antarctica. It may not be possible to rid your home entirely of these creatures. But there are ways in which you can lessen your allergic reactions to them.

What Is a Dust Mite Allergy?

An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Both the body parts and the waste of dust mites are allergens for many people. Most dust mites die in low humidity levels or extreme temperatures. But they leave their dead bodies and waste behind. These can continue to cause allergic reactions. In a warm, humid house, dust mites can survive all year.

What Are the Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergy?

Common dust mite allergy symptoms include:  

  • Sneezing

  • Runny nose

  • Itchy, red or watery eyes

  • Stuffy nose

  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat

  • Itchy skin

  • Postnasal drip (a flow of mucus from behind your nose into your throat)

  • Cough

If your dust mite allergy triggers your asthma, you may also experience:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Chest tightness or pain

  • A whistling or wheezing sound when breathing out

  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing

 

Cockroach Allergy

Cockroaches are insects that live in many locations around the world. These pests adapt easily to a variety of environments. They prefer warm conditions found most often in buildings. They are mainly active at night and will run away from light.

A cockroach allergy is a common trigger of year-round allergy and asthma. If you are allergic to them, they can trigger asthma attacks. Studies show children who are allergic to cockroaches, and are exposed to them, need to go to the hospital for asthma more often than other children with asthma.

 

What Is a Cockroach Allergy?

Cockroaches contain a protein that is an allergen for many people. An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic immune reaction. The body parts, saliva and waste of cockroaches are allergens. Even dead cockroaches can cause allergic reactions.

What Are the Symptoms of Cockroach Allergy?

Common cockroach allergy symptoms include: 

  • Sneezing

  • Runny nose

  • Itchy, red or watery eyes

  • Stuffy nose

  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat

  • Postnasal drip (a flow of mucus from behind your nose into your throat)

  • Cough

  • Itchy skin or skin rash

If your cockroach allergy triggers your asthma, you may also experience:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Chest tightness or pain

  • A whistling or wheezing sound when breathing out

  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing

Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats?

Allergies to pets with fur are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. In the United States, as many as three in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.

Is There Such a Thing as a Hypoallergenic Pet?

People with dog allergies may be more sensitive to some breeds of dogs than others. Some people may be allergic to all dogs. People may think certain breeds of dogs are “hypoallergenic,” but a truly non-allergic dog or cat does not exist.

 

What Causes a Pet Allergy?

The job of the immune system is to find foreign substances, such as viruses and bacteria, and get rid of them. Normally, this response protects us from dangerous diseases. People with pet allergies have over-sensitive immune systems. They can react to harmless proteins in the pet's urine, saliva or dander (dead skin cells). The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction. The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens.

Pet allergens can collect on furniture and other surfaces. The allergens will not lose their strength for a long time. Sometimes the allergens may remain at high levels for several months and cling to walls, furniture, clothing and other surfaces.

Pet hair is not an allergen. It can collect dander, urine and saliva. It also can carry other allergens like dust and pollen.

Cat and dog allergens are everywhere. Pet allergens are even in homes and other places that have never housed pets. This is because people can carry pet allergens on their clothing. Also, allergens can get into the air when an animal is petted or groomed. Pet allergens can also be stirred into the air where the allergens have settled. This can happen during dusting, vacuuming or other household activities. Once airborne, the particles can stay suspended in the air for long periods.

What Are the Symptoms of a Pet Allergy?

Cat and dog allergens can land on the membranes that line the eyes and nose. Reactions include swelling and itching of the membranes, stuffy nose and inflamed eyes. A pet scratch or lick can cause the skin area to become red. It is common to get itchy eyes after petting an animal then touching your eyes.

If allergen levels are low or sensitivity is minor, symptoms may not appear until after several days of contact with the pet.

Many airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. For some, this exposure can cause severe breathing problems. Highly sensitive people can begin coughing, wheezing and have shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens. Sometimes highly sensitive people also get an intense rash on the face, neck and upper chest.

Contact with a cat can trigger a severe asthma episode (asthma attack) in up to three in ten people with asthma. Cat allergies also can lead to chronic asthma.

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