This is the most common method of testing for allergies as it is quick, effective and relatively painless. In this test, small drops of your suspected allergens are placed on your skin, which is then lightly pricked. For about 15 to 20 minutes during this exposure to the allergens, the allergist will monitor your skin for signs of an allergic reaction, such as swelling or redness. You can expect to experience some discomfort when your skin is pricked, and possibly some itchiness while the potential allergens are left to react.
This is similar to the skin-prick test, but instead of contact through a prick, the allergens are injected to form a small bubble under your skin. Intradermal testing can be more sensitive than skin-prick testing so it might be used, for example, if a skin-prick test did not confirm a highly probable allergen. We also use intradermal testing to check for insect-sting allergies.
Patch testing will be used if you have a suspected allergy that shows up as a skin reaction. A few drops of a suspected allergen are placed on a patch, which is then applied to your skin and left on for at least 48 hours. After two days, the patch will be removed and our allergists will check for and evaluate any reaction. You will then be asked to return later in the same week to see if the reaction is still there, or if there are any delayed reactions.
We offer ImmunoCAP, the latest advance in blood testing for both food and environmental allergens in children and adults. It can be used to check up to 400 allergens, using just one blood sample taken during a single appointment. In the case of food allergies, it can also be combined with skin testing for the most accurate and detailed results possible.
In order to confirm a suspected allergen, our allergists might ask you to avoid it and monitor whether your symptoms improve. This could involve anything from changing your washing detergent, to cutting out a specific food.
The opposite of elimination testing is provocation testing, which is also called challenge testing. It is used less often, but sometimes is recommended to confirm an allergy to medication, such as penicillin, or food, such as peanuts. You are exposed to the suspected allergen, but in a safe, clinical environment so that assistance is available in the event that you have a severe reaction.