Unsure Of What Is Causing Allergies? Take These Allergy Tests To Find Out

Allergy testing evaluates how your body reacts to particular allergens or allergy triggers. Read ahead to know more.

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaUpdated at: Jan 11, 2023 13:56 IST
Unsure Of What Is Causing Allergies? Take These Allergy Tests To Find Out

Allergy testing can help identify allergens, such as mould, pet dander, bee stings, and peanuts, that a person may be sensitive or allergic to. You can control your allergies by using the findings as a guide. A healthcare professional will prick you with an allergen during a skin-prick test to look for a wheal (raised skin), rash, or other symptoms. IgE antibodies can be examined using blood testing. 

In an exclusive interaction with OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Dr Akash Shah, Consultant Pathologist at Neuberg Supratech Reference Laboratories shares the importance of allergy tests and what tests are available for assessing allergies. Here is what he shared with us.

Allergy testing evaluates how your body reacts to particular allergens or allergy triggers. When you have an allergy, your immune system mistakes the allergen for a harmful substance and overreacts to it.  It creates immunoglobulin E-containing antibodies (proteins) (IgE). These antibodies induce the substances that result in an allergic reaction to be released.

Also read: Fungal Sinusitis: Symptoms, Preventative Measures & More

What tests are available for assessing allergies?

1. Skin prick test 

A skin prick test, also called a puncture or scratch test, is used to quickly check for allergies to a variety of substances, including food, pollen, mould, pet dander, and dust mites. This test involves applying small amounts of various chemicals to the skin, usually on the forearm, and observing the body's reaction. It is typically used to diagnose allergies in adults and can test for up to 50 different allergens at once. The upper back of children may be examined.

2. Intradermal test

A tiny amount of each substance (allergen) you might be allergic to is injected beneath the skin during intradermal skin testing. You will experience a lump and redness where the allergen was injected if you are allergic to that allergen. Each skin test reaction is monitored for swelling (wheal) and redness after only a brief period (15–20 minutes) (flare)—a positive skin test results from a sizable skin reaction.

Since intradermal tests are more sensitive than prick tests, prick skin testing should come first (i.e., fewer false negatives).

Types Of Tests To Detect Allergies

Also read: Fungal Sinusitis: Symptoms, Preventative Measures & More

3. Patch test

In this test your healthcare professional applies a few drops of an allergen to the skin of your arm before bandaging the area. Alternatively, your doctor might apply a patch (bandage) with the allergen. You need to leave the application on, for about 48 to 96 hours and visit the doctor's office again. The dressing is removed so your healthcare professional can examine your skin for any reactions or rashes. This examination identifies the origin of contact dermatitis. 

Winters bring along a lot of allergies with them. It may be dust, pollen, etc., which can cause various issues like runny nose, cough, skin rashes, etc. Plenty of tests available can help precisely understand what material is causing the allergic reaction to avoid it from occurring in the future.

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