Which Type of Allergy Testing is Best for Me?
As if managing allergies isn’t difficult enough, it can be especially so when you consider an allergy test to establish your allergies and treatment. Allergy testing can seem scary, but in the hands of a trained allergist or ENT specialist, it can be an accurate way to determine the best treatment plan for you. There are some different types that serve different purposes, though, so here’s a rough guide to determining which one might benefit you most.
There are different types of skin tests, the use of which can depend on how your skin reacts during some preliminary testing by your allergist, which can include a positive histamine test and a baseline saline test. These can be used to determine how the results of the allergy test should be interpreted by ruling out certain factors like your skin’s reactivity and sensitivity. After this is established, a skin test of varying depth is performed. This can include allergens being placed on top of the skin, pricked into the surface layers of the skin, or injected even deeper under the skin. Under the supervision of your allergist, any reactions are then observed. Skin testing is usually used as a baseline for determining allergens or for judging your allergic reaction to physical exposure of certain substances.
Blood testing can sometimes be used if skin testing is inconclusive or if your allergist finds that your skin is too sensitive for skin testing (or may produce false results). It can also be useful if you have a skin condition or are taking certain medications that would make it unsafe to perform a skin test. Blood testing requires a blood sample that is studied in a lab, meaning it can be more extensive than skin testing. It works by exposing the blood sample to certain allergens and observing how much immunoglobulin E is produced in response. This can be the preferred method in cases where you might sustain a severe reaction to an allergen.
Each of these tests can be valuable in providing a baseline for your treatment plan, so it’s important to undergo one with the supervision of your allergist or ENT specialist who can ensure accurate results and create a plan for you. Contact our Tuscaloosa office to schedule an appointment for your allergy testing needs.