How to Find Out What You’re Allergic To

Am I really allergic, and to what?

Find out exactly how to pinpoint your allergies.

Whether with mild symptoms like an itchy nose or a swollen mouth, or more extreme ones like shortness of breath, we react to the allergens around us all the time. To avoid these sometimes hazardous symptoms, it’s important to pinpoint exactly what is causing them. We spoke with Dr. Clifford Bassett, a food allergy specialist, who helped us compile ways to find out what you’re allergic to.

7 Most Common Food Allergies (Slideshow)

Dr. Bassett points out that there are "simple, virtually painless, reliable in-office allergy diagnostic skin tests to pinpoint if you have allergies and exactly what type." He states that these tests are the only "true, effective relief for those pesky allergies." Here are the tests to help you find out what you're allergic to:

  • In-office allergy skin tests can help pinpoint whether you may have indoor, pet, seasonal, and food allergies (in some cases in less than 20 minutes).
  •  It's about your family. It's likely that more than half to three-quarters of allergy sufferers inherit many of the allergy-prone tendencies, a condition known as "atopy." The best way to prevent this is to "choose your parents, wisely!"
  • Allergy testing can really hone in our your allergic triggers, which are often responsible for ongoing annoying eye or respiratory symptoms such as asthma, as well as nasal and sinus symptoms like persistent "machine-gun" sneezing, nasal stuffiness, itchiness of the nose and throat, and reduced sleep quality due to obstructed sinus and nasal passages. 
  • Eye allergies can be part of your allergic profile, even causing puffiness beneath your eyelids, known as "shiners." In fact, a poll conducted in our office found most women affected use a "concealer" cosmetic to cover up their eye puffiness rather than try to identify the cause, which is often related to skin, nasal, and sinus allergies. In some cases, in-office skin patch testing can help pinpoint if you have contact dermatitis or skin or eyelid allergies that keep you from looking your best. 
  • It is the letter "I." Itchiness of the eyes, nose, and throat is part of an allergy syndrome that may include cross-reactions between seasonal pollen (like ragweed, tree pollen, etc.) and proteins present in fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and even nuts. In more than 50 percent of pollen sufferers, food proteins on the surface of many fruits cause worse allergy symptoms and trigger "oral allergy syndrome" due to this cross-reaction. Proper allergy testing can help narrow down some of the true triggers and come up with an allergy plan that is safe, cost-effective, and gets the mission accomplished.

Follow some of these tests to make sure that you are accurately diagnosing your allergies so you can receive the help that you need to get symptom relief.


Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.