How do you test for allergies?
Allergy tests can give precise information as to what you are, or are not, allergic to. Testing is safe and effective for adults and children of all ages.
The most reliable and common test for allergies is a skin test. This simple, in office procedure introduces a very small amount of multiple specific environment allergen(s) introduced through an indention or “prick” on the surface of the skin.
These allergens which are selected for testing are generally known to exist in any particular geographic region of the country. Most commonly they include varieties of grass and tree pollens, mold, mildew, animal dander, and dust mites . The results are available within minutes allowing the ability to develop a treatment plan immediately.
Blood tests called RAST (radioallergeosorbent test) may be performed when skin testing cannot due to certain medications. Results are not available immediately as it generally takes days to obtain results of RAST testing. Which tests are better, skin or blood?
Allergy skin testing is the most accurate and preferred method of evaluating allergies. These tests are safe, minimally invasive, and easily interpreted. Blood assays or RAST may be an effective means to test for food allergens. Blood tests also may have decreased sensitivity compared to skin testing. Depending on the individual patient, more than one type of test may be utilized for an accurate diagnosis.
What is involved in a skin test?
Contrary to popular fear and belief, it causes MINIMAL to NO discomfort, and is no longer performed by needle sticks.
A skin test is a simple procedure that is best described as tiny pricks that are made on the surface of the skin on your forearm or back. The pricks are conducted with a small device, similar to a plastic toothpick. The device contains small amounts of common allergens. The skin is lightly punctured on the surface with a tiny amount of the allergen. If you are allergic to an allergen, a small mosquito bite-like bump will appear. The size of the skin response can be measured in millimeters and directly correlates to the severity of the allergic reaction.
Schedule your Allergy Test with your local ENT Institute office at earliest convenience.