Allergy tests are any of several tests used to determine the substances to which a person is allergic.
Patch tests - allergy; Scratch tests - allergy; Skin tests - allergy; RAST test
How the test is performed
There are many methods of allergy testing. Among the more common are:
- Skin tests
- Elimination-type tests
- Blood tests (including the radioallergosorbent, or RAST, test)
Skin tests are the most common. Specific methods vary.
One of the most common methods is the prick test. This test involves placing a small amount of suspected
A similar method involves injecting a small amount of allergen into the skin and watching for a reaction at the site. This is called an intradermal skin test. It is more likely to be used when testing is being done to find out if you are allergy to something specific, such as bee venom or penicillin.
Patch testing is a method to diagnose allergic reactions on the skin. Possible allergens are taped to the skin for 48 hours. The health care provider will look at the area in 24 hours, and then again 48 hours later.
Skin tests are most useful for diagnosing:
- Food allergy
- Mold, pollen, animal, and other allergies that cause allergic rhinitis and asthma
- Penicillin allergy*
- Venom allergy
- Allergic contact dermatitis
An elimination diet can be used to check for food allergies. An elimination diet is one in which foods that may be causing symptoms are removed from the diet for several weeks and then slowly re-introduced one at a time while the person is watched for signs of an
Blood tests can be done to measure the amount of immunoglobulin (Ig) E
Review Date: 06/25/2011
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School.