FAQ About Allergy Tests

Health & Medical Blog

What types of triggers can allergy tests identify? How do doctors test for allergies? What do the test results mean? You have questions—and now you need answers. Whether you have a suspected food allergy, skin sensitivity, or another issue, take a look at the most common testing questions answered.

Is This Type of Testing Necessary?

You think you have an allergy. But it doesn't seem like a major problem right now. Do you still need to test for a trigger? If you want to prevent or treat reactions, you need to know what you're allergic to. This requires testing.

Do You Need to Go to a Doctor's Office for a Test?

Simply stated—yes. An allergy test is not a do-it-yourself type of diagnostic tool. Even though you can buy over-the-counter trigger test kits in pharmacies or other retailers, you need to visit the doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Doctors use one of two methods to test for allergies—skin prick or puncture tests and blood testing. Like the name implies, a skin prick test requires the doctor to prick your skin with a small needle containing the suspected allergen. This is done on the forearm or sometimes on the back. If your skin turns red, itches, or swollen, you have an allergy.

Some patients may need a blood test to look for IgE antibodies to allergens in their blood. Like the skin prick test, a blood test is done in a doctor's office by a licensed medical provider. The doctor may send your blood to a lab after a nurse, medical assistant, or phlebotomist collects it.

Can Allergy Tests Find All Triggers?

Allergy tests can look for a variety of triggers. These include everything from food to plants and bees. Before the test, the doctor will need a full medical history. This should include other known allergies and any medical conditions or issues. The doctor will also talk to you about your allergy symptoms and ask if you suspect any triggers. This information will help the medical provider to choose which tests to use. If the doctor doesn't feel a specific allergen is responsible for your symptoms, they won't test for the trigger.

What Happens After the Test?

Again, a positive reaction to a skin prick test will leave behind a red, itchy, or swollen area. This may feel uncomfortable. The doctor will explain how long the reaction should last and review the results after the test. They may prescribe an allergy medication or recommend another course of treatment, such as immunotherapy. Reach out to a professional about allergy tests


17 June 2021

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