Professional allergy testing is carried out to confirm if your immune system reacts to a specific substance. Without a precise diagnosis, individuals put themselves at risk from unpredictable allergic reactions. However, with an abundance of allergy testing options, it can be difficult to know where you should turn. The following options are used by professional allergists in Atlanta to deliver accurate test results.
What Are the Main Allergy Testing Options?
There are various allergy tests available through your allergist. Factors like your symptoms and medical history will determine the best option to use.
Skin Prick Test
This process involves the placement of suspected allergens on the body – usually the forearm – before the skin is gently pricked. If a red bump appears within around 15 minutes, this is confirmation of an allergy to the substance.
Skin Injection Test
The skin injection test is similar to the prick test, but a needle is used to inject the allergen just beneath the skin’s surface.
A patch test is typically used to diagnose contact dermatitis. Suspected allergens are added to patches and placed on the back. The patches are removed after 48 hours and results are usually determined within five days. One of the main differences between a skin prick and skin patch allergy test is the time required for a diagnosis.
Due to complications with medication or skin conditions, some patients cannot complete a skin allergy test. In these cases, a blood test may be used. A sample of blood is taken and the laboratory analyzes levels of antibodies to confirm an allergy.
Oral Challenge Test
This process is used for food allergy testing. A patient is given incremental doses of food and an allergist observes, checking for any adverse reactions at each stage.
Should I Use Home Allergy Testing or Professional Allergy Testing?
Over-the-counter home allergy testing kits are widely available. However, results are unreliable and this can lead to individuals making unnecessary changes to their diet or lifestyle. In reality, the only way to gain an accurate diagnosis is to get tested for allergies by a certified allergist/immunologist.
What Allergies Can Be Diagnosed By Allergy Testing?
Allergy testing is appropriate for many types of allergies. Skin prick testing is the most common option and is used to test for food, pollen, mold, dust and pet dander. Patch testing helps to discover rashes caused by contact with allergens. A challenge test may be useful for determining a food allergy and a blood test is a good alternative to the skin prick test.
Get Access to Professional Allergy Testing Services
If you have experienced an allergic reaction, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Chacko provides allergy testing services from Chacko Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Johns Creek. To make an appointment, call (678) 668-4688 or request help online.