What To Think About
- You may not need allergy testing if you have
mild allergies that are easily controlled with medicine or lifestyle
- Skin tests for allergies:
- Are the easiest and least expensive method
for identifying allergies in most people.
- Are more reliable than
blood tests for identifying common inhaled (airborne) allergies, such as
pollens, dust, mold, and pet dander.
- Cannot tell whether a person
is reacting to a certain food. Further testing (such as an elimination diet)
may be needed to identify this.
- Can be unpleasant for children and
- May take as long as 3 to 4 hours.
- Blood tests for allergies:
- Are less sensitive than skin tests.
So it is possible for people to have a positive reaction to a skin test
but have a negative reaction to a blood test.
- Are not affected by
antihistamines or tricyclic antidepressants, so people
do not need to stop taking these medicines while being tested.
be a good choice if you have very sensitive skin or a skin problem, such as
eczema, that would make it hard to see whether you
have a reaction to a skin test.
- Will not cause an allergic
reaction. They may be used if you have had a serious allergic reaction in the
- Cost more than skin tests.
- You may need to be tested for a latex allergy
before having a major surgery if you have had frequent exposure to latex.
Allergy blood tests are used for this. If you have a latex allergy, latex
products should not be used during your surgery or recovery.
blood tests, such as fluoro-allergosorbent testing (FAST), multiple antigen
simultaneous testing (MAST), and radioallergosorbent testing (RAST), are
sometimes used to check for allergens.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
June 30, 2011
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