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allergies and asthma/adult onset
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allergies and asthma/adult onset

What is the difference between the blood allergy tests and the skin testing? I was recently tested for allergies by a blood test and it came back I was allergic to cats and dogs, but I have heard this form of testing isn't always 100% and skin testing is still needed. Is this true? I have had asthma symptoms for two months now with shortness of breath & chest tightness. I have had a stress test, echocardiogram, PFT, Lung scan, CT, chest x-ray, endoscopy so far and everything normal except for reflux, ulcers in the esophagus and mild asthma. Do you think allergies could play a role? I am 29 with no history of asthma, and otherwise very healthy.  
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Allergy testing starts with a thorough history to uncover what things may be causing your allergy symptoms.  These are called allergens.  When it is not clear what allergens are causing your symptoms blood testing is often the next step.  This will help to focus the list of possible allergens.  With blood testing it is possible to have false positives.  So blood testing is more likely to show that you are allergic to something that you may not really react to.

The next step would be skin testing to verify if you really react to those allergens that were found to be positive by blood testing.  So skin testing is more accurate.  However there are some things that can affect the results of skin testing.  Antihistamines can suppress your reactions.  This is the reason that you need to stop these medications for days to weeks before the skin testing is done.  To check for this it is important that a histamine control skin test is done to be sure that you react and a saline control skin test is done to be sure that you do not react.  To learn more please read our allergy testing information by copying and pasting this address

http://www.nationaljewish.org/disease-info/diseases/allergy/about/diagnosed/index.aspx

into the address window of your internet browser.

The demonstration of esophageal ulcers is strong evidence of severe reflux and uncontrolled reflux can worsen asthma.  Before pursuing the question of allergies any further, it would be prudent to seek optimum therapy for the reflux, from the physician who performed the endoscopy and adhere to that therapy for no less than 2 to 3 months.  At the same time, you should avoid all contact with cats and dogs and be aware that cat dander may linger in a given environment, for up to 6 months with routine cleaning.  Also, during this period, you should seek appropriate therapy for the asthma.  If the asthma persists despite good control of the reflux, the avoidance of cats and dogs and good asthma therapy, you might then want to inquire about skin tests.

In the meantime, don't forget that allergens and irritants in the workplace can also be a "cause" of asthma.

Good luck.
2 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
For me (not a doctor) my allergies are the strongest factor for my asthma. My asthma isn't that bad if you take away my allergies. Each person is different, however you asked "Do you think allergies could play a role?" It is absolutely possible.
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