There are plenty of methods used now to detect different types of allergies. Skin prick testing is one such most common method used by many practitioners. You may be remembering it if you have undergone it ever that your arms were spotted with dozens of prick marks in different rows with some swelling and redness at different places. It may have seemed to be a bit brutal, but each spot interpreted a reaction to different types of allergen.
Not much has changed in the way of allergy testing lately, and skin prick testing is still known as the gold standard in allergy testing. However, one significant things changed overtime is the way how the allergens are injected under the skin. Instead of needles, now there are special plastic applicators now with brushes for application.
Advanced allergy testing
In advanced skin prick testing, the evaluators take the extracts of all such possible allergens people are usually allergic to as;
- Mild chemicals and every other possible thing in the environment which people breath in or get into their eyes, ears, or nose to cause symptoms.
Some other allergists also use tiny needles to apply these. In any style, the allergy tests are applied almost the same pattern everywhere so that there is little room for any misdiagnosis on identifying the allergen. If the patient is allergic to a specific thing, then the prick marks may will redden or swell soon.
Preparation for test
Those who are taking antihistamines may have to stop taking it a few days prior to undergoing the skin prick test. Usually, the doctors advise to stop it at least a week before testing to get the most accurate results. However, one disadvantage of skin prick test is sometimes it may be hard to read the exact results on people with dark pigmented skin.
Next to skin prick test, the most popular allergy testing method is patch test, which checks for the allergens, which have come into contact with human body to cause the reactions. If anyone suffers from an itchy rash on wearing any type of jewellery or reaction to any makeup materials, then diagnosis can be done by wearing an allergen patch for about 24 hours. The major allergens tested through this method include;
- Metals as nickel, cobalt.
- Cosmetic additives like Peru and balsam.
- Ingredients in laundry detergents and soaps etc. can be tested this way.
Provocation / challenge test
Provocation test, also called as challenge test, is an ideal option to check for food allergens, which is a time-consuming and expensive test. For this, the patients need to be put in a controlled setting which may require hospital admission and tested by giving small amounts of food to identify the allergen.
Blood test is also widely used now to identify allergies to about 650 allergens and occupational exposure. Blood samples will be sent to lab and it may probably take three days to get the results. Whichever method used, it is important to get the cause of the allergy identified and treated immediately in order go avoid any further complications.