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Allergy Tests

An Allergy Specialist performs different types of tests to find out if your body has an intolerance or allergic to any substance. The test is done as a blood test, skin test or an elimination test to find out the allergen or the substance which can trigger an allergic response in that person.

I. Skin Test: Skin test gives fast results and is done on adults. Skin tests are fast and are less expensive than the blood tests. There are three types of skin tests.

Type 1: A drop of the suspected allergen is put and picked on the skin of the individual, usually on the forearm. Care is taken to see that the suspected allergen enters the skin. If redness or swelling appears, then the result is said to be positive, and the individual is said to be allergic to the particular allergen. Many suspected allergens can be tested at the same time.

Type 1: A drop of the suspected allergen is put and picked on the skin of the individual, usually on the forearm. Care is taken to see that the suspected allergen enters the skin. If redness or swelling appears, then the result is said to be positive, and the individual is said to be allergic to the particular allergen. Many suspected allergens can be tested at the same time.

Type 3: Skin patch test: The allergen is placed on a cotton pad or surgical pad and taped to the skin of the individual for 24 to 72 hours and tested for reactions. This test is used to detect an allergy called contact dermatitis.

A skin test can reveal airborne allergens, likely food allergens or if a person has a drug allergy and for insect venom. A few decades ago, penicillin drug was not tolerated by everyone and hence a test dose used to given on the forearm skin to rule out allergic drug reactions.

II.Blood test: There are various types of allergy blood tests. These tests try to detect substances called as antibodies in the blood. It measures the level of immunoglobulin in the blood. Usually, people with high levels of this antibody will have allergies.

If that is the case, then a blood test is prescribed. Blood is drawn and tested for various allergens. This is a time-consuming process. Blood tests are more helpful since the medications taken by the individual if at all, does not interfere with the test results.

Along with the test results, family history and medical history is also considered for the diagnosis.

A blood test may be done instead of a skin test if the person has eczema or is not advised to stop taking his medications like antidepressant or antihistamine; if there is a history of severe allergic reaction or if he has shown a positive skin test result.

It is good to divulge information about all the medications that you are on to the doctor and also if you are allergic to any substance – like if you have noticed prior allergic reaction.

III.Elimination Diet

The third method adopted in identifying allergy-causing food is the elimination test. A doctor understands your food habits thoroughly and depending on the symptoms, advises few food items to be removed from the diet for few days and then adds them again. This will be tested to see if the allergic symptoms disappear when the food items are eliminated and appear back when they re-introduced in the diet. This will help the doctor diagnose which food is not tolerated by your digestive system.

An elimination diet can help your doctor determine which foods are causing the allergic reactions. Depending on the results of these tests, medications and treatment will be prescribed.