Initial testing to determine what you are allergic to usually takes about an hour. Testing is sometimes done from a blood sample, but skin testing is the preferred method in most cases. After discussing your symptoms and history, and examining your ears, nose, and throat, the physician will recommend allergy testing if he concludes that allergies may be causing some of your symptoms.
Prick testing is the oldest and most reliable way to test for allergies. It uses a 10 pronged plastic device gently creating a small wheal (prick) in the skin of the back causing the allergen to go underneath the skin’s surface. The allergy nurse will closely monitor the skin for signs of a reaction, usually inflammation and redness at the site.
Testing is usually performed on the back. After cleansing the area with alcohol, a small plastic 10 pronged tester (called a Multi-Prick) is used to barely scratch the surface layer of skin. A drop of the item being tested will be applied at the same time. This test will be repeated for each item being tested, one after another. Usually it takes only a minute or two to apply all the tests. After approximately 20 minutes, the test will be read. During this time you may experience itching, and small wheals (bumps) may develop to items that you are allergic to.
If only a few allergies are indicated, we safely proceed to a stronger test on your upper arms to items that did not respond to the initial testing. This second phase involves injecting a tiny amount of the item being tested just under the skin. Usually we use the upper arms to do this testing. This also involves a 20-minute wait and may result in itching and small wheals to the items to which you are allergic. If it is determined that allergy shots are needed, we may schedule additional testing on another day to determine the dose of each item individually as we prepare your injections.
What type of allergies do you test for?
On the skin test, we test for trees, grasses, weeds, molds, animal dander and dust. Foods and other suspected allergens are tested through blood work.
Is skin testing painful?
Skin tests have little or no pain. However, positive reactions to an allergen can cause itching or red bumps to appear.
How long will it take to find out what I am allergic to?
Results are usually seen within 15-20 minutes after the test has been performed.
Does over-the-counter medication interfere with allergy skin test?
Yes. All anti-histamines along with some other medications can block reactions leading to a false negative. It is very important to inform us of all medications you are taking prior to testing. Our office will provide a list of medications you will need to avoid at least 1 week prior to testing.
An allergy develops because your immune system produces immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies specific to a potential allergen after you are exposed to it. The next time you are exposed, the allergen — usually a protein — will react with these antibodies, triggering an allergic reaction. Blood testing for allergies looks for the presence of these antibodies.
What am I tested for?
Our carefully selected panel includes the area’s most common weeds, grasses, trees, mold, animal dander and other non-pollens such as foods for year long problems.
How long does it take to get blood test results?
All blood samples are sent to an out of state lab for testing. On average, it takes approximately 2 weeks for results to be available.
Can I avoid the skin testing and only have my blood drawn?
We prefer to do both skin and blood testing together in order to help you find the real cause of your daily allergy symptoms. However, there are circumstances where we choose to do blood testing only. These situations include: