Diagnosis & Treatment Options
One of the most valuable diagnostic components is detailed information you will provide the doctor on previous stings, including number of stings, how your body responded and how quickly, how long symptoms lasted, etc. From there, testing options include skin and blood tests.
A skin prick test involves a tiny amount of insect venom placed on the skin, at which point the skin will be scratched/pricked with a tool to ensure the potential allergen goes into the skin. If any redness or swelling appears within 15 or 20 minutes, you may be allergic to that substance. When this test does not provide conclusive results, a more sensitive intradermal skin test may be the next phase. A small amount of venom is injected just under the top layer of skin. The patient is then observed for signs of a reaction just like in the skin prick test.
If your doctor feels further testing is necessary, a blood test will be ordered. People who have insect venom allergies will produce specific antibodies to fight that venom. A blood test can detect the amount of those antibodies in your blood. If you have high levels of them, you may have an allergy. (Typically, blood testing is conducted before the skin prick test.)
Upon completion of all testing, your Greater Austin Allergy specialist will provide a diagnosis. Patients with an insect sting allergy will be advised on how best to avoid stings, as well as on treatment in case of a future sting. The allergist will determine if you could benefit from venom immunotherapy, which can desensitize patients to insect venom and prevent allergic reactions down the road. Give us a call today to start the testing process!