Determining the Specific Cause of an Allergic Reaction With an Allergy Skin Test

Wang Yan
Wang Yan

Global Courant

Individuals who experience frequent or severe allergic reactions, of which they are unable to determine the cause, may be referred to an allergy specialist by their regular physician. An allergy specialist can usually determine the specific allergen, or in some cases multiple allergens, which are causing these reactions by a skin test.

There are three different types of skin test which can be preformed and typically only one of these is used. The determination of which test will be given is generally based on what type of allergen is suspected in causing the allergic reactions.

Allergy Tests

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The most of common of these tests given is the scratch or puncture test which is done by introducing certain suspect allergens to the skin by lightly scratching or pricking the skin with very small amounts of allergen extracts. This test is generally used when trying to determine the most common types of allergies such as hay fever, mold, food, pet dander, and dust mites.

Another type of skin test which can be preformed is where the allergen is injected through the top layer of the skin with this injection being done typically in the arm. This test can be used to determine if allergic reactions may be due to certain types of venom caused by insect stings, or when taking certain medications such as penicillin.

The third type of skin testing which can be performed is called a patch test which is typically used to determine what is causing a contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is an inflammation or irritation of the skin which may be caused by many substances some of which include perfumes, latex, metals, medications, and preservatives. Once the results of these skin tests are known, the allergist will then discuss with you the treatment options available which may include medications or allergy shots. However, in most cases once the allergen is known, these substances can be avoided which can decrease or stop the allergic reactions all together.

Determining the Specific Cause of an Allergic Reaction With an Allergy Skin Test

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