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Allergy Test Types

Getting to the root cause of your allergies is essential to finding relief. Along with your initial assessment, your SSM Health allergy and immunology specialist may perform skin or blood tests to figure out what exactly makes you sneeze or wheeze.

Skin Tests for Allergies

Skin tests are considered to be the most reliable and accurate method of testing. There are two types of tests you may undergo:

  • Percutaneous, also known as prick, puncture or scratch tests
  • Intracutaneous, also known as intradermal tests

Patients receive results of these skin tests rather quickly, with positive reactions usually appearing within 15 to 20 minutes of the test. A scratch (percustaneous) test introduces a tiny amount of a suspected allergen on the patient’s back or forearm. Typically, multiple allergens are tested at once. If there is a sensitivity to the allergen, redness and swelling will appear at the site of contact.

Intradermal (intracutaneous) skin tests are used when the scratch test comes up inconclusive or when diagnosing an allergy to insect venom.

Blood Tests for Allergens

Blood tests involve drawing blood and sending the sample to a laboratory that analyzes the sample for the presence of antibodies to specific allergens. You may not receive blood test results for several days. Blood tests are typically used when:

  • Your doctor advises against discontinuing medications that can interfere with skin test results or cause medical complications.
  • A patient suffers from severe skin conditions such as widespread eczema or psoriasis.
  • A patient has such a high sensitivity level to suspected allergens that any exposure could result in potentially serious side effects.

Don’t let allergy symptoms get you down. Schedule an appointment with an SSM Health allergy and immunology specialist. They’ll meet and speak with you about your symptoms, potential health challenges and review next steps.

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