What To Think About
- You may not need allergy testing if you have mild allergies that are easily controlled with medicine or lifestyle changes.
- Skin tests for allergies:
- Are the easiest and least expensive method for identifying allergies in most people.
- Are more reliable than blood tests for identifying common inhaled (airborne) allergies, such as pollens, dust, mold, and pet dander.
- Cannot tell whether a person is reacting to a certain food. Further testing (such as an elimination diet) may be needed to identify this.
- Can be unpleasant for children and their parents.
- May take as long as 3 to 4 hours.
- Blood tests for allergies:
- Are less sensitive than skin tests. So it is possible for people to have a positive reaction to a skin test but have a negative reaction to a blood test.
- Are not affected by Reference antihistamines Opens New Window or tricyclic antidepressants, so people do not need to stop taking these medicines while being tested.
- May be a good choice if you have very sensitive skin or a skin problem, such as Reference eczema Opens New Window, that would make it hard to see whether you have a reaction to a skin test.
- Will not cause an allergic reaction. They may be used if you have had a serious allergic reaction in the past.
- Cost more than skin tests.
- You may need to be tested for a latex allergy before having a major surgery if you have had frequent exposure to latex. Allergy blood tests are used for this. If you have a latex allergy, latex products should not be used during your surgery or recovery.
- Other blood tests, such as fluoro-allergosorbent testing (FAST), multiple antigen simultaneous testing (MAST), and radioallergosorbent testing (RAST), are sometimes used to check for allergens.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 30, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology