Allergy tests are the best and safest way to tell exactly what triggers your symptoms. Common triggers include: dust mites, animal dander, molds, pollen, cockroach droppings, stinging insects, foods, latex and drugs.
- Skin tests: This is the most common kind of testing. In this test, a small amount of allergen is placed on your skin, and this area is pricked or scratched. If you are allergic, you'll experience a little swelling at the site of the prick test. Results of this test are usually available within 15 minutes.
- Intradermal tests: Intradermal tests are more sensitive than prick tests, and may be used when prick test results are inconclusive. In this test, your allergist will use a syringe to inject some allergen under your skin.
- Challenge tests: Challenge tests are sometimes used when a doctor suspects you have a food or drug allergy. In this test, patients eat or inhale a very small amount of possible allergens under the close supervision of an allergist. Do not try this test at home!
- Blood tests: For this test, blood is drawn and then tested for allergies. This test costs more than some other tests. It will also take longer to receive your results.
An allergist has specialized training to perform and interpret allergy testing. Once you receive your test results, your allergist can work with you to develop a treatment plan to manage your allergies.