Basic Allergy Testing
Allergy tests are used to determine what causes your specific allergies. Basic Allergy Testing is the first and most important step in creating a successful treatment strategy.
A number of allergy tests are available. Based on the type of allergy and other considerations, your doctor may order a specialized allergy test:
- Skin Tests — The skin prick test, intradermal skin test and skin patch test are all examples of skin tests.
- Blood Tests — Measuring IgE levels and the RAST Test are among the blood tests available.
- Food Tests — The Food Challenge Test is where an allergist feeds you the suspect food in measured doses to measure reactions.
- Allergen Tests — Based on your symptoms, the suspected allergen (trigger) and other criteria, your doctor will recommend allergy testing.
The results of these tests must be interpreted in conjunction with other symptoms and physical findings.
Allergy Testing on the Skin
Skin tests may be less expensive than allergy blood tests and deliver faster findings. On the other hand, young children may resist the test and some drugs, such as antihistamines, can affect the results of allergy skin tests. Consult your doctor to see if you need to stop taking any medications before getting allergy skin testing.
Prick Test on the Skin
The skin prick test involves applying a little amount of the suspected allergen to the skin and then pricking it to allow the allergen to penetrate beneath the surface. Different parts of the body can be used, although the back, forearm and upper arm are the most common.
The doctor looks for swelling and redness at the prick location on the skin. Within 15-20 minutes, you should be able to notice the results. The allergen that was applied is linked to the location that develops an allergic reaction.
Intradermal Skin Tests
This is similar to a skin prick test, only the allergen is injected beneath the skin's surface with a tiny needle. This may yield more reliable results. For those preparing to begin immunotherapy (allergy shots), an intradermal skin test may be recommended to select the right allergens to utilize in the injections.
Skin Patch Test
Skin Patch Testing is a method of determining whether or not you have a skin allergy and is performed to figure out what's causing allergic skin reactions like contact dermatitis.
Preservatives, dyes and glues that are suspected allergies are taped to the skin for 48 hours. At the site where the allergen was applied, the doctor looks for symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Tests for Allergies in the Blood
Blood tests are advantageous since they require a single needle prick and the results are unaffected by drugs.
There are a variety of allergy blood tests available and may be indicated in specific circumstances such as:
- For babies and little children, obtaining a blood sample with a single needle poke may be easier than performing many skin tests.
- For people who must take a drug that cannot be stopped but may affect the findings of a skin test
- Skin test results might be difficult to understand for persons who have severe skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis.
Skin testing may cause a serious allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, in persons with severe allergy symptoms.