If you have recently visited allergy care services, you probably had allergy testing done. Consequently, you may be wondering what exactly you were tested for. Depending on what type of allergy testing you had, you could have been tested for more than 40 different types of allergens. Each method of testing is designated for a specific type of allergen.
The patch test is used in order to test how extended exposure to an allergen is received by the body. For example, if you are being tested for a latex allergy, a small piece of latex may be put against your skin under a small patch and left there for approximately 24 hours. Common allergens found through the patch test include but are not limited to medications, jewelry, makeup, perfumes, and metals.
Skin Prick Method
The skin prick method is arguably the most common type of allergy testing out there. This method is usually used in order to test individuals for a large number of random airborne allergens such as mold, pollen, pet dander, different kinds of trees, food, and dust mites. The skin prick method is often performed on the inner arm in adults and the upper back of children.
A challenge test is usually performed when there is a suspected allergen but there is still some question as to whether or not there is an allergy. The challenge test is basically introducing the suspected allergen directly to the body to see what will happen. This test must be performed under close medical supervision, since anaphylaxis may occur quickly should there be an extreme allergy. If someone believes they are allergic to peanuts, for example, they may be exposed to them during a challenge test to confirm the diagnosis.
Sometimes a blood test is needed when a skin prick test comes back inconclusive. These tests are helpful because they are very conclusive. After an allergen is introduced to the skin and bloodstream through a skin prick, a sample of blood can be removed. Once it is under the microscope, the blood test can be examined, and it is easy for a trained eye to see whether or not the body has a reaction of antibodies to the allergen.
In conclusion, there are many ways to diagnose what allergies may be ailing you. Some people may be disheartened if one method does not work. However, it is important to not give up. Just talk to your doctor about trying a different method.
For more information, reach out to a resource like the Allergy Asthma Specialists.