What is Allergy Testing?
Allergy testing is used by NY allergists to determine what substances are causing a patient’s allergic reactions. There are a few different types of allergy testing, which we will discuss below.
Skin prick testing is the most common method of allergy testing. In this test, the skin is slightly pricked while a small drop of allergen is exposed to the skin for about 15-20 minutes. Your NYC allergy doctor will then monitor the skin for signs of an allergic reaction, including redness and swelling. You can expect to experience some discomfort when your skin is being pricked, and also some itchiness while the allergens are allowed to react.
Intradermal testing is similar to skin prick testing, the major difference being that the allergen is injected under the skin to form a small bubble. If you are familiar with the test used for tuberculosis, it is the same type of injection. Intradermal testing can be more sensitive than skin prick testing. Intradermal testing is also used in our NY allergy office for testing for an insect sting allergy.
Patch testing may be used when you have been experiencing allergic reactions on your skin. For example, if you develop a rash after using a new shampoo or wearing a new piece of jewelry. During the patch test, a substance is placed on a patch that is then applied to your skin. After about two days, the patch will be removed to see if you have any allergic reactions. The NY allergy doctor will want you to return later in the week to check for any delayed reactions.
Blood testing may be recommended by your New York allergy specialist to measure the antibodies present in your blood. One common blood test in the field of allergy measures Immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is an antibody that your immune system develops in reaction to a specific allergen. Other relevant blood tests include radioallergosorbent testing (RAST), eosiniphil counts, or immunoassay capture test (ImmunoCAP).
Elimination testing is when the NYC doctor asks you to avoid a suspected allergen to see if your symptoms improve. This could mean eliminating a specific food from your diet, or just changing the laundry detergent you use.
Provocation testing (also called a “challenge”) is essentially the opposite of elimination testing. In this case, the NY dr would expose you to a suspected allergen while you are in a safe, clinical setting - just in case you have a severe reaction. This test is sometimes used to confirm (or disprove) a food or medication allergy (penicillin or peanuts, for example).
If you have questions about allergy testing, the specialists @ the New York Allergy and Sinus Centers want to help. Our doctors and associates can help determine what allergy testing you need. We will also develop a treatment plan to alleviate your allergy symptoms and help you get back to normal. We offer convenient clinics throughout NYC: Murray Hill, Midtown, Upper West Side, Chelsea, and Queens. We can even help you find relief for your asthma, nasal and sinus problems, ear, nose, and throat (ENT) symptoms, respiratory allergies, & skin conditions. We see pediatric and adult patients from around the New York City area, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Please give us a call today at 212-686-4448 for an appointment.