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ALLERGY TESTING

Allergy testing can be very quick or very time consuming. Tests are needed to determine which allergen may be causing a reaction. After an allergy report is obtained the health care provider can then recommend an allergy treatment.

Skin prick tests are the most common form of testing. A selected allergen is applied to the forearm or the back and the skin is gently pricked. A red flare on the skin will appear within 20 minutes to prove the allergy.

Another form of testing is patch tests. Patches with particular substances are applied to the back in strips. The area is examined after a few days. Positive results will show as redness at the site.
When skin prick and patch tests are inconclusive an allergen-specific blood test may be performed. This involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory to test the level of an immunoglobulin associated with allergic reaction.

Another type of testing is an elimination diet and challenge testing. The diet is used to isolate foods that can be causing an allergic reaction. This diet can last several weeks and the patient must avoid foods identified as common causes of food allergy. If symptoms improve allergen known foods are added one at a time until symptoms recur. This reintroduction of allergen known foods is known as challenge testing. This diet must be performed under medical supervision and a careful diary is needed to track symptoms

Reactions to testing like anaphylaxis can be life threatening. A qualified health professional should perform all tests so that they can anticipate and treat any allergic reactions.




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