Finding out what you’re allergic to is an important to being healthy and feeling better. It’s an important first step to having a better quality of life.
Today allergy tests are more convenient and accurate than ever before. When combined with a detailed medical history, allergy testing can identify the specific things that trigger your allergic reactions.
What Type of Allergies Can We Test For?
- Environmental Allergies
- Foods Allergies
- Venom from Stinging Insects
- Contact Skin Allergies
- Eye Allergies
- Respiratory Allergies
- Allergies to Various Chemicals
- Contact with Metals
- Occupational Allergies
- Drug Allergies
- Immune Allergies
Does Allergy Testing Have Any Side Effects?
Any medical test involves some risk. The risk with allergy skin tests is that allergy symptoms might occur during the test. The most common symptoms are itching and swelling of the skin where the tests are administered.
In rare cases, a more serious reaction can occur. That is why skin tests should only be done by a doctor specifically trained in allergy medicine.
The only real risks with allergy blood tests is pain from the needle or bleeding at the needle site. There are a few people who may faint during blood testing.
Who can be tested for allergies? What About Children?
Adults and children of ANY AGE can be tested for allergies.
How is allergy testing done?
Allergy testing can be done as skin tests or as blood tests. Allergy tests should only be done done under the guidance of a trained allergy specialist. These specialists are trained in the best methods for testing and treating allergies.
Which test method is best?
Skin tests give fast results. They usually cost less than allergy blood tests. However, some medicines can interfere with skin tests. Since the skill of the tester may affect the results, skin testing should be done by a medical professional with lots of training.
Blood tests are helpful because they involve a single needle prick. Medicine does not interfere with the results. However, it takes a long time to get the results, and depending on the test, there can be false positives. Blood tests cost more than skin tests. There are many of types of allergy blood tests. Some types are more helpful than others.
Each test method has pluses and minuses. The test results alone do not diagnose allergies. All test results, from either type of test, must be interpreted together with your medical history.
How Do Allergy Skin Tests Work?
There are two types of skin tests. During the first type of skin test, a drop of a suspected allergen is pricked on the surface of the skin. The test is performed on the back or forearm. Many suspected allergens are tested at the same time. If you are allergic to one of the tests, you will have redness and swelling at the test spot.
Sometimes the doctor will recommend a second type of test. In this type, a small amount of the suspected allergen is injected into the skin of the arm or forearm. Several suspected allergens are tested at the same time.
How long does it take to get skin test results?
Skin testing is fast. For both types of skin tests, positive reactions usually appear within 20 minutes. Sometimes redness and swelling can occur several hours after skin testing. The delayed reaction usually disappears in 24 to 48 hours, but should be reported to the allergy doctor or nurse.
Is skin testing painful?
Both types of skin tests have little or no pain. However, positive reactions cause annoying itching red bumps which look and feel like mosquito bites. The itching and bumps are gone usually in just a few short minutes or hours. Your allergist may apply a cream to your skin to help decrease the reaction, or have you take an antihistamine afterwards.
Does medicine interfere with allergy skin tests?
Some medicines do interfere with allergy skin tests. The allergist will tell you if you have to change your medicine before allergy skin testing.
Blood Testing for Allergies
When are allergy blood tests used?
An allergy blood test is often used because:
- The patient is taking a medicine that can interfere with skin testing, but cannot be stopped for a few days.
- The patient suffers from a severe skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis.
- Testing with a strong allergen might cause an extra large positive reaction.
How long does it take to get blood test results?
Because the blood sample must be sent to a lab for testing, it takes many days to get the results.
We’re happy to answer your questions. Just give us a call.