Allergy testing is done to find out which substances are causing your allergy symptoms. At Complete Allergy and Asthma in Houston, Texas, allergy and immunology specialists Niti Chokshi, MD, and Brian Tison, MD, use various methods like skin prick testing, patch testing, intradermal testing, and food challenges to help detect allergies in children and adults, reducing the risk of potentially severe allergic reactions. Call Complete Allergy and Asthma today to schedule treatment for food allergies and other allergies, or book your appointment online.
Your doctor will likely recommend allergy testing if you suspect food allergies or other allergies. In rare cases, people have a whole-body allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life-threatening. Being aware of triggers can help to prevent severe reactions.
Allergy testing is usually accurate, but sometimes what bothers you doesn’t show up during testing. If you have one test that doesn't detect your allergy trigger, your Complete Allergy and Asthma provider might recommend another type.
Don't worry if it takes a while to find the source of your allergies. Your provider will keep trying different methods until you learn exactly what is causing the symptoms.
There are several types of allergy testing:
Skin prick testing might be used to diagnose food allergies and pollen, mold, animal fur, and insect allergies. Penicillin and related medicines are the only drug allergies that can be tested using skin prick testing.
Patch testing is a method used to diagnose the cause of skin reactions after the substance touches the skin. Possible allergens are taped to the skin during this test for 48 hours, and your provider checks the area around 72-96 hours later.
Intradermal testing involves injecting a small amount of the allergen into the skin. Your provider then watches for a reaction.
This test is typically done to determine bee venom or penicillin allergies. Or it may be used if the skin prick test was negative and your provider thinks you're allergic to the allergen.
Your provider may try to trigger an allergic reaction in the office by having you eat the food or breathe in the substance that could be causing your allergy. This is called a challenge test.
Food challenges can be risky if you're severely allergic, as you could have a severe reaction. Your provider will watch you closely during this test to ensure you're safe.
Allergy medicines, antihistamines, cold medications, and sleep aids can change the results of allergy testing methods. Your provider will tell you which medicines to avoid and when to stop taking them.
If you experience allergy symptoms and want to get to the root of the problem, call the knowledgeable and compassionate staff at Complete Allergy and Asthma to schedule allergy testing or book an appointment online today.