The best way to treat your allergy symptoms is to schedule allergy testing to determine their exact cause.
Skin Prick Testing
Skin tests are the preferred allergy test because they are safe, affordable and they provide accurate results.
How Does a Skin Test Procedure Work?
In prick testing, several drops of a solution containing the suspected allergen are placed on the surface of the skin. A needle is used to prick or scratch the skin where the drops are placed.
If your body is allergic to this substance, the immune system will respond. The result is swelling and redness on the skin.
How Fast Are the Results of a Skin Prick Test?
This allergy testing procedure is performed in-office and should take no longer than 15 minutes. Skin prick test results are available before you leave the doctor’s office because skin prick tests are visual. With a prick test, an allergist can tell whether you are allergic to an allergen based on how your body responds.
Prick testing is safe and reliable. This test may cause minor discomfort, swelling or itching. It is most often used to test for allergies to pollen, mold, dust mites, and pet dander.
Following the skin prick test, an intradermal test is used to further evaluate how allergic you may be to an allergen. An intradermal wheal, or bleb, is injected directly under the top layer of skin. After 15 minutes, any reactions are measured and classified as either positive or negative.
Blood Testing for Allergies
A blood test measures how much of an allergen-specific antibody, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), is in your blood. The more allergen-specific IgE in your blood, the more likely you are to be allergic.
The most common blood test is a radioallergosorbent (RAST) test. It screens for common allergy triggers such as pollen, mold, dust mites and food. RAST is the preferred testing method for children. It is less expensive and results take longer since an outside lab is involved.
Blood tests may also be used instead of skin tests if a serious allergy makes skin testing unsafe.
Call Blue Ridge Ear, Nose, Throat & Plastic Surgery at (434) 947-3993 for more information or to schedule an appointment.