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Allergy Testing: the procedure in detail!
Allergy Specialist

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Allergy tests today have become more accurate and reliable than ever. When combined with thorough medical history, it is the best option to identify what triggers allergic reactions. There are many types of allergy testing.

Allergy tests procedures
Allergist studies your symptoms including other relevant information using your medical history. After an evaluation, he performs physical examination to identify the type of allergy and the testing it requires.

Among the many procedures are:
• Skin Testing
Suspected allergens (- substances that cause the allergic reaction) are identified as environmental, food, from certain drug or medication, seasonal or stinging insects. There are 2 methods used:

(1) Prick skin testing - With a prick device, solutions containing the suspected allergen is placed on the skin. After 15 minutes, the result is shown.

(2) Intradermal skin test – With a small needle, placed the allergen under the skin surface. Test results show after15 minutes.

• Blood tests
Also called IgE tests or RAST, this test is the best alternative in situations where skin testing is impossible. Situations may be due to-

(1) The patient is unable to discontinue antihistamines or other medications that might affect results of skin test;
(2) When patients have dermatographism (- scratching the skin causes hives; or

(3) Patients have skin rashes/lesions that prevent accurate reading of the skin test results.
Blood tests also discover other disorders of the immune system like angioedema - a swelling episode, chronic urticaria or hives and primary deficiency immune disorders.

• Spirometry
This type of lung function test utilizes specific evaluation for asthma in allergic individuals. During spirometry testing, patients are required to inhale deeply and then forcefully exhale fast while blowing into an instrument that measures lung function. This is repeated 3 times for consistent results. Measurement of lung function is recorded by a spirometer. Your health provider interprets the result.

• Food tests
This is performed to confirm a
food allergy. Some doses of suspected food are given to the patient starting with a very tiny dosage followed by observation and assessment period before taking the next dosage. After imbibing the final dose, the patient is finally assessed. To avoid the risk of adverse reaction, all food tests are done under strict physician supervision.

• Drug/medication test
This is performed to confirm a drug allergy or to determine if the patient is tolerant to a particular kind of drug. The patient takes small doses of the drug followed by a period of observation and assessment prior to receiving the next dose. After the final dosage is taken, the patient’s observation period must be extended until it is time for the final assessment. Due to the danger of adverse reaction, all drug tests are performed under physician supervision.

• Patch Testing
The purpose is to determine what caused the development of the contact dermatitis. Skin rashes developed from wearing some kinds of metal jewelry or applying a certain product for the skin. The suspected allergen is placed in the form of patches on the back. Removed 48 hours later and results read 2 to 5 days after the patches are removed. For better results, read after up to 10 days after removal.

The best test
Today in the United States, around 50 million people suffer from allergies. Skin tests provide speedy results. They are most cost-effective than the other types. The test is a serious procedure and should be performed by an allergist.

Latest Activity: Nov 14, 2017 at 2:58 AM

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