The questionnaire you complete before your first visit, along with your history and exam, will help your provider determine which allergy tests to order during your visit.
Skin testing identifies allergies to common environmental items like dust, mold, pollens, and/or animal dander. These tests are typically done on your upper arm (see picture to the right). A small needle is used to inject allergen just under the top layer of skin. The feeling compares 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 identify 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 is a highly sophisticated, precise test that helps assess your reactivity to specific allergies and whether they might be severe. A few allergenic molecules, such as those in peanuts (Ara h2) or eggs (OVM Gal d 1) for example, can potentially trigger 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 shellfish. 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.
Oral challenge tests determine your reactions to certain foods and guide safe dose escalation during treatment. This can also lead to a Graded Oral Food Challenge to determine when tolerance is reached. You are supervised by a staff member during this challenge to make sure you do not have a serious reaction.