Allergy tests are done by an allergist, and used to determine the specific allergens that are causing and adverse reaction. Most commonly, a skin test is done in office, but in a few cases other tests may be appropriate, including blood tests and challenge tests.
Skin tests are the mostly widely used allergy tests, and are realtively painless. A very small amount of an allergen is placed on very short needle, and pressed into the top layer of skin. To maximize testing and minimize pain, a tool with multiple needles is used. The vast majority of patients report the test as painless. Once the allergens have been placed, the skin is allotted about 15 minutes to react. Most commonly, a small hive or swollen area will appear around the allergens you are allergic to. The hive disappears shortly after the test, and few patients have any adverse reactions.
Challenge tests are most commonly used for food and drug allergies, and should only be done at an allergist’s office. In a challenge test, a small amount of the allergen is inhaled or taken by mouth.
Blood tests are a safe method of testing for allergies, but the results take much longer to receive than in office allergy tests. Typically, blood tests are used when a skin test is not ideal, such as when taking certain medications or when a skin condition is present that will interfere with testing ability.
To schedule your allergy test, please contact Atlanta ENT today.
Ramie Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT