All You Need to Know About Allergy Testing: Types and Procedures

Did you know that around 81 million people (about twice the population of California) in the US are diagnosed with seasonal allergic rhinitis? To prevent these allergic reactions, you need to get properly diagnosed and learn about your allergens. For that, you need to take allergy tests. Learn what allergy tests you can expect for a diagnosis in this article. Talk to a specialist for infectious diseases if you have any concerns.


Allergy tests

Allergy tests are used to identify the source of an allergic reaction which is essential for someone who experiences severe or repeated allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can be caused by many sources and may affect the body in different ways. Some allergies are harmless but uncomfortable, while others cause severe problems. The most common causes of allergies include:

  • Food
  • Animals
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Fungi
  • Certain medications

The most common symptoms you may get from an allergic reaction include:

  • Itching
  • Watery eyes
  • A rash
  • A runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal or sinus congestion
  • Difficulty breathing

To check your allergies, the doctor may use different types of allergy tests depending on the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. It includes:

  1. Skin prick test:

The skin prick test is the most common test used by the doctor to identify the potential causes of an allergy. It is simple, inexpensive, and quick, it can find a broad range of allergens. It is useful when the predicted allergen, such as a seasonal allergy or food allergy, has an immediate response.

To do that, the doctor will place a series of potential allergens along the person’s forearm, keeping space between each sample to prevent any overlap. Then, they make a small prick in the middle of each sample, so that the allergens enter the outer layer of the skin. If there is an allergic response, the skin may show signs of redness and swelling, producing a hive or wheal in the affected area.

The doctor will use a medical exam and information about a person’s history and geographic surroundings to select allergen samples for the skin prick test to get better result accuracy. The skin prick test can identify allergens that cause conditions such as:

  • Rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Eczema
  • Suspected food or drug allergies
  • Venom allergies following insect stings
  • Other, less common reactions
  1. Intradermal test:

This test is used next to the skin prick test if it doesn’t produce satisfactory results. While the skin prick test only enters the skin’s surface layer, this one goes beyond the use of a syringe to inject the potential allergen under the skin. Although this test is very sensitive to pick up allergens that may cause allergic reactions, it may not be a very specific test and often leads to false-positive results.

  1. Patch test:

Patch test is used when the suspected allergen causes a delayed response. For example, they may expect a reaction after a couple of days rather than instantly like in the case with contact dermatitis.

In this test, the doctor places a patch containing a sample of the proposed allergen on the person’s back, and it remains there for around 2 days. The doctor then removes the patch and assesses for an allergic reaction. It may need to be done again in 2 to 3 later. If skin responds to allergens, it is more likely to cause itchiness and show signs of swelling and dryness.

  1. Blood tests:

Blood tests are useful when skin tests fail, or other tests are unsafe or inconvenient. The doctor will take a blood sample to complete serum immunoglobulin (IgE) tests. During the procedure, a healthcare professional takes a blood sample, extracts serum IgE from the blood, and assesses it for an immune response against different potential allergens.

  1. Food allergy tests:

A challenge test can be used to identify the source of food allergies. This procedure is always done under the supervision of a healthcare professional. During a challenge test, a person will consume a small sample of a potential food allergen while the doctor watches for symptoms of an allergic reaction.

  1. Insect sting test:

Doctors use this test in patients with allergies to bee or wasp venom to check if the treatment is successful or not. If a bee or wasp stings you, it can be irritating and painful and causes a red bump or swelling. However, if you’re allergic to the venom in an insect bite, you may have a more severe reaction such as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Allergy vaccines are used to change the natural course of allergic diseases, especially in case of allergy to insect stings so that they don’t get anaphylaxis symptoms. These vaccines are given to patients for 3 to 5 years. After this time, the doctor may suggest this test to see if the patient becomes tolerant or not. To perform this, they take a bee or wasp and put it on the arm of the patient until the insect stings the patient. After that, the patient is watched to see if symptoms appear. Depending on the type and severity of the symptoms, it can evaluate how efficient immunotherapy is to continue or discontinue it.

  1. Spirometry:

This is a type of lung function test to evaluate asthma, especially in people who have allergies. Individuals who report symptoms or have results that are suspicious of asthma need this test.

During this test, you are asked to inhale deeply and then forcefully exhale quickly while blowing into a device that measures your lung function. You need to repeat this at least 3 times to make the results consistent. The lung function is recorded on a device called a spirometer and the doctor interprets your results.


Allergy testing is required to find the allergens that cause allergic reactions in people. These tests help the doctor to plan the treatment accordingly and how to prevent the allergens to avoid allergic reactions.

Need help with allergy testing? Visit our immunologists in Brooklyn clinic for professional diagnosis and treatment. Looking into treatment for infectious diseases, Visit our team of Specialists for infectious diseases at Doral Health & Wellness on 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212. We also offer other services, such as vaccinations, immunizations, and blood testing. Call us on 13473845690 to get a consultation from our clinic or log on to