The questionnaires you complete before your first visit, along with the your history and exam, will help your doctor determine which type of allergy test to order during your visit.
Skin testing determines if you have inhalant allergies to common environmental items like dust, mold, pollens, and/or animal dander. These tests will be done on your upper arm (see picture to the right). These are not actual injections; a needle is used to inject allergen just under the top layer of skin. The feeling can be compared to a mosquito bite. For kids, we have tools to help explain the process in a kid-friendly way and to ease the process.
A blood test may be done to measure specific levels of allergy antibodies to suspected allergens in your blood stream. A single blood draw can help determine food and environmental allergies. For those who are highly sensitive to skin testing, blood testing may be chosen as an alternative when appropriate.
Breathing or lung capacity tests may be done if you have a history of asthma or breathing difficulty.
Component-based allergy testing helps assess the level of reactivity to specific allergies and the likelihood of severe reactions. A few allergenic molecules, such as those in tree nuts, carry the potential to induce severe allergic reactions. We may use these tests for patients who are suspected of being highly reactive to foods, along with those who have strong sensitivities to dust mite, tree pollens, pets, egg, milk, wheat, peanut, soy, fish, and shell fish. This diagnostic technique allows sublingual immunotherapy to be optimized by:
- Revealing the specific sensitizing source.
- Defining markers with risk of severe allergic reactions.
- Resolving cross-reactivity among allergens.