Finding the Cause of Allergies

Medically Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on March 07, 2022

How do people find the cause of allergies? Most learn to recognize their allergy triggers; they also learn to avoid them in the name of allergy prevention.

An allergy specialist (allergist) may be able to help identify your triggers. Several different types of allergy tests are used to do this.

  • Skin testing is the most widely used and the most helpful in finding the cause of allergies. There are several different methods, but all involve exposing the skin to small amounts of various substances and observing the reactions over time.
  • Specific IgE tests generally identify IgE antibodies to specific antigens, or allergy triggers. The body produces antibodies to fight invaders, or allergens.
  • Other tests involve eliminating certain allergens from your environment and then re-introducing them to see if a reaction occurs.

People with a history of serious or anaphylactic reactions may be prescribed an auto-injector, sometimes called a bee-sting kit or an autoinjector like  Auvi-QEpiPen, Symjepi or a generic version. These contain a pre-measured dose of epinephrine. You should carry two of these with you and inject yourself with the medication immediately if you are exposed to a substance that causes a severe allergic reaction or are developing any signs of anaphylaxis.

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William Larry Haith, DO, FAAEM, Consulting Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine, Southern Maine Medical Center.


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