Allergy Testing and Allergens

Adults and children of any age who have symptoms of allergies can be allergy tested. The physicians at Allergy Care are board certified in allergy and immunology. We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of allergy, immunology, and asthma for the entire family.

If you or your children are experiencing these allergy symptoms, our physicians are here to help you:

  • Respiratory symptoms - itchy eyes, nose, or throat; nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, chest congestion, or wheezing.
  • Skin symptoms - hives, generalized itchiness, or atopic dermatitis
  • Other symptoms - anaphylaxis (severe life-threatening reaction), abdominal symptoms (cramping or diarrhea) that consistently follow the ingestion of particular foods, or stinging insect reactions (other than large local swelling at the sting site).

If you are having allergy symptoms, you are reacting to a particular substance. Any substance that can trigger an allergic reaction is called an allergen. To determine which specific allergens are triggering your symptoms, the physicians at Allergy Care can safely and effectively test you in several different ways to determine what you are allergic to and provide the best treatment.

After discussing your symptoms, one of our physicians will determine which test will be the most effective in determining what you are allergic to. One or all of these tests will help the physician decide what treatment method is best for you.

Types of Allergy Testing

Prick Test - This technique involves the use of a small applicator called a "duo tip". It is much like a small plastic toothpick. The duo tip contains a small amount of an allergen extract that will be applied to your back. Examples of the extracts include ragweed, dust mites, grass, molds, or even foods. After one of the Allergy Care physicians determines which substances to test for, one of our nurses will draw a grid on your back with an orange colored highlighter. She will then take a number of the tips and prick the skin at each one of the designated grid sites. This technique will feel like a small scratch. The surface of the skin must be scratched in order for the antigen to penetrate your skin. With this type of testing, redness and swelling will only occur in the spots where the tiny amount of allergen to which you are allergic has been introduced. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites, but not ragweed, the spot where the dust mite allergen touched your skin will swell and itch. The other site will remain normal. In order to assure our physicians that you are being tested properly, the very first and very last tips will contain histamine. This substance usually reacts on every person, no matter what your other allergies may be. The test results are usually available within 15 - 20 minutes. One of our physicians will then come read the results and determine your allergies based on your reactions.

Intradermal Skin Testing - This technique involves injecting a small amount of allergen extract under the skin with a small needle. Once the physician determines what you need to be tested for, one of our nurses will come back to your exam room and begin the injection process. The nurse will use a small syringe to inject the antigen(s) right below the surface of your skin. It will feel similar to having a tuberculosis skin test performed on your arm. What appears to be a small bubble will appear at the injection site. While you are waiting 15 minutes for results, you must not scratch, push on, or irritate the injection site(s). If you have a positive intradermal reaction, a red, itchy whelp will raise to approximately the size of a dime. It is not unusual for this reaction to persist for several hours and it may not fade for several days. It is also possible for there to be slight bruising around the injection site. Both of these types of reactions can be alleviated with the use of over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream and/or the use of a cool pack after testing. Unless there is severe pain or the reaction triples in size over a 24 to 48 hour time period, you should not be concerned about your reactions. Rarely, there may be a residual bruised appearance for up to several weeks after a positive reaction.

Allergen Patch Testing - This technique tests for allergies to 24 different types of metals and fragrances. It involves placing a 4" x 6" plastic sheet on your back. On the side that is touching your skin will be a four-column grid that contains the allergens for testing. The patch test will stay taped on the back for 48 hours. During this time, you may feel slight local reactions of itching and redness. Again, do not remove or irritate the test site. After this time, you will return to our office for the physician or his assistant to read the results.

Blood or RAST test - This involves having your blood drawn. We do not do this test in our office, but we will give you an order to go a hospital lab or your primary care doctor's office to perform this. The results of this test will take several days or weeks. RAST tests are generally used in cases where skin tests cannot be performed or were negative, and your doctor is still suspicious of your symptoms.

Additional Allergy & Asthma Services: 

  • Allergy Skin Testing-Food & Inhalant
  • Antibiotic Testing & Challenge
  • Exercise Challenge
  • Food Challenges
  • Immunologic Evaluation
  • Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
  • Latex Testing
  • Local Anesthetic Testing
  • Mannitol Challenge
  • Niox Test
  • Patch Testing
  • Pulmonary Function Testing
  • Pulse Oximetry
  • Tympanograms
  • Venom Testing
  • Xolair Administration