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Allergy Testing

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Allergies affect millions of adults and children in the United States each year. A skin test combined with a medical history, may be an essential first step to treating allergic conditions. Common testing extracts include pollenmoldsdust mitesanimal danderinsect stings and foods.

Prick skin testing, also known as scratch testing, is one type of allergy test. A small disposable prick device applies the allergy extract to the skin by scratching or pricking the skin. A hive or raised bump may occur at the site of the prick test. Each test site will be measured and compared to a positive and negative control allowing for specific allergies of the patient to be identified. Prick testing may be applied to the forearms or the back depending upon the age of the patient, the number of tests ordered, and the condition of the skin. Results occur, typically between 10-20 minutes.

Intradermal skin testing is another type of allergy testing. A small intradermal injection applies the allergy extract underneath the skin. A hive or raised bump may occur at the site of the intradermal test. Each test site will be measured and compared to a positive and negative control allowing for specific allergies of the patient to be identified. Intradermal testing is typically applied to the outer arm. Results occur, typically between 10- 20 minutes.

Blood testing is another type of allergy testing usually used because the following reasons:

  • 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, which may interfere with the accuracy of skin testing
  • Testing with a strong allergen might cause an extra large positive reaction or at worse a systemic reaction
  • For babies and very young children, a single needle stick for allergy blood testing may be better than several skin prick/intradermal tests.
  • The allergen needed to be tested for is not available with prick or intradermal

Prick, intradermal and blood testing may be performed on both adult and pediatric patients.

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