The only way to treat allergy symptoms is to determine exactly what is causing them. This is done through a series of allergy tests.
Skin Prick Tests
A skin prick test is the most common form of allergy testing. This test involves placing a small drop of an allergen extract on the skin. A needle is then used to prick the skin underneath the drop; this allows for a small amount of solution to enter just below the surface of the skin. After 15 minutes any swelling or redness is measured and, depending on the size, is considered a positive reaction.
Intradermal Skin Test
An intradermal skin test is completed if the skin prick test is negative. 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. This test is more sensitive than a regular skin test and can also be used to test for a very specific allergen.
A blood test is used to measure how much of an allergen-specific antibody, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), is in a patient’s blood. The more allergen specific IgE in your blood, the more likely they are to be allergic. Blood tests are typically used to confirm the results of a skin test; they may also be used in lieu of skin tests if a serious allergy makes skin testing unsafe.
Food Allergy Test
Food allergies may be tested with a simple blood draw. An elimination diet involves removing the food in question from a patient’s diet for two to four weeks. If the symptoms resolve, there is a good chance the food was causing their reaction. The doctor may return the problematic food to the patient’s diet, just to make sure the symptoms return.
Call Southern Utah Ear, Nose, Throat, Allergy, and Facial Plastics at (435) 628-3334 for more information or to schedule an appointment.