If you think you have allergies, you may need to take more than one test to determine the cause. Some tests are gold-standard and detect most allergies. However, a few allergy-causing materials are hard to detect. Therefore, your doctor may need to use other tests to determine the cause of your reactions. Here is more to know about different types of allergy tests and why your doctor may prescribe them.
Skin tests are the mainstay of allergy testing. These tests are what most people think of when they think of allergy tests. Below is a list of three common skin allergy tests.
Skin Prick or Scratch
First, a small amount of liquid containing the allergen is placed on your skin, usually on your back. Then, they use a small tool to prick or scratch your skin in these areas. A short time later, they check for a reaction.
If the prick or scratch tests don't show any results, the next step is intradermal testing. In this test, you will receive an injection of a small amount of the allergen under your skin. Like before, the doctor checks your reaction after a short time.
Patch tests check for contact dermatitis allergies. The doctor drops a small amount of allergen on your skin and covers it with a patch. You then go home and come back in a few days. The doctor then checks for a rash or other allergic reaction.
Some allergies, like food allergies, do not show up very well in skin tests. Therefore, a blood test may be more appropriate. It checks for an IgE antibody reaction to certain allergens. However, these tests tend to have a high rate of false positives. Therefore, many doctors may use other methods to determine if you have food allergies.
Doctors use challenge tests for food and drug allergy detection. They have you swallow a small amount of the possible allergen. Then they observe you for a reaction. Over time, the doctor gives you more incremental amounts and waits for a reaction. You can only do this test under medical supervision. If you are allergic to the food or drug, you could be at risk for life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
If the doctor can't pinpoint your allergies with these tests, they can perform other lesser-known tests and challenges. For example, the doctor may apply a small amount of known allergens to your nasal membrane to check for a reaction. Or, they may ask you to remove certain foods or other allergens to see if you get better. Either way, do not do this on your own. If you have questions about specific allergy tests, see your doctor.
Contact a local allergy testing service, such as Dino Peds, to learn more.Share