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 around 60 mins. 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.
Skin Prick Test vs. Patch Test
A patch test is more often used to identify allergens that cause skin rashes. Patch tests typically take several days to process and function differently. Where a skin prick test introduces a tiny amount of an allergen into the skin, a patch test holds a liquid containing the allergen on top of the skin using a specialized patch. After 48 hours, the patient can return to the allergist, who will then mark the test sites and a third appointment may occur another 48 hours later before final results can be determined.
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 pet dander. It is less expensive and results take longer since an outside lab is involved.
Blood tests are typically used to confirm the results of a skin test; they may also be used instead of skin tests if a serious allergy makes skin testing unsafe.
Call Cape Medical Group at (302) 703-4025 for more information or to schedule an appointment.