How to Test for Allergens

Allergic reactions range from annoying to deadly. If you notice an adverse reaction to food or something in the environment, a simple test administered by a health care professional can indicate the exact allergens that irritate you. Depending on your sensitivity to allergens and your medication regimen, you may take a skin test or blood test.

Instructions

  1. Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to take an allergy test. Tell your doctor about any antihistamines you currently take — some prohibit skin testing. Also tell your doctor if you’ve ever had a life-threatening reaction to an allergen or a serious reaction to a previous test.
  2. Stop taking antihistamines one week before your test, or for a period of time specified by your doctor. Antihistamines include over-the-counter and prescription medications, nasal sprays or eye drops. If you are unsure whether you’re taking antihistamines, ask your doctor or pharmacist about your medications.
  3. Dress in a short-sleeved short or layers over a short-sleeved shirt on the day of your appointment. This will make it easier for your physician to administer the test.
  4. Go to your doctor’s office on the day of the appointment. You will be given a prick skin test on the forearm or back to detect allergens such as pollen, dust mites, molds and dander. You may alternatively be given an intradermal skin test (needle stick) or blood test, which is given to small children or people who can’t take a skin test due to medication. The test results take 15 to 20 minutes to develop, after which the doctor will discuss your results. The skin test site may flare up during this time, but effects usually fade after a few hours.
  5. Apply a cold compress or topical antihistamine to the irritated skin test site if necessary. Avoid scratching the site.

How to Treat Infected Mosquito Bites

Summer and mosquitoes go hand in hand with the heat of the season. They fly thick near water between dusk and dawn. The female needs blood for her eggs to survive, and usually we are the unfortunate targets for her meal. Mosquitoes carry blood-borne diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria, encephalitis and West Nile virus, so a good mosquito repellent containing DEET should be sprayed on exposed skin before venturing out in the early morning or evening hours when these pesky critters feed. Often a mosquito bite may become so bothersome that we scratch it, and unconsciously scratch it in our sleep, until it becomes infected. Infected mosquito bites needed to be treated immediately.

Instructions

  1. Treating Infected Mosquito Bites – Wash the red, sometimes weeping, mosquito bite carefully with soap and water and dab it dry with a clean paper towel. Although you may have a compelling urge to scratch the infected mosquito bite like mad, try not to as fingernails harbor all kinds of bacteria and may cause a secondary infection.
  2. Apply a thin layer of triple antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin to the infected mosquito bite and cover with a band aid to prevent knocking the already painful area.
  3. Take an antihistamine such as Benadryl to quell the itching and reduce redness or welts, especially at night when unconscious scratching of the infected mosquito bite may occur. Caladryl may be applied after the infection has begun to heal to relieve the itch and reduce the swelling.