Allergy testing precisely identifies the substances causing your allergic rhinitis, asthma, skin rashes, hives, or other allergic conditions. This information is essential if you want to avoid specific allergens or undergo immunotherapy to treat your allergies. Dr. Charles Song and Dr. Andrew Wong at the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology perform comprehensive allergy testing, and then recommend the best treatment to help you find relief from allergies. To learn more about allergy testing, call our office in Manhattan Beach, California, or book an appointment online.
When your allergy symptoms worsen, don’t respond to over-the-counter medications, or cause you to miss too much time from work or school, it’s time to consider allergy testing.
It’s especially important to contact the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology if you suspect a food allergy, because these allergies put you at risk for a severe life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
The most common allergy symptoms include:
Before starting any allergy testing, your doctor thoroughly reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam. It’s important to fully understand the nature of your allergies and determine which allergy test is best for you.
There are several types of skin tests:
Skin prick tests are used to determine which environmental or food allergens you are sensitive to. A small, diluted amount of allergen extract is introduced to your skin with a small device which gently pricks the skin surface. The test is typically performed on your forearm or back, and your doctor checks for reactions in about 15 minutes.
An intradermal test is more sensitive than skin prick testing. It’s also more invasive, so it’s often done when skin prick tests are inconclusive, or when a venom or penicillin allergy is suspected. Your doctor injects a small amount of allergen into the middle layer of your skin, then watches for a reaction in about 15 minutes.
This test is used to diagnose allergens responsible for contact dermatitis. Your doctor puts a small amount of the suspected allergen on a patch, then places the patch on your skin. A patch test produces a delayed reaction, so you’ll wear it for about 48 hours before the results are evaluated.
A skin prick test can be used to test for a food allergy, but your doctor may perform a blood test if you’re at risk for a severe skin reaction or to verify the results of a skin test. If any doubt remains, an oral food challenge may be considered.
During a food challenge, you’re under constant medical supervision as you slowly eat food in gradually increasing amounts. The test definitively shows whether a specific food produces an allergic reaction.
When you suspect you’re allergic to a medication, your doctor at the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology may perform a drug challenge or penicillin skin test:
Your doctor gives you a small amount of the suspected drug in gradual doses while monitoring you for a reaction.
A penicillin skin test is performed with skin prick testing and intradermal testing techniques. For this test, a penicillin antibiotic itself is used as well as a material called PRE-PEN®. PRE-PEN contains a concentration of the most common allergenic penicillin molecules.
Allergy testing is an integral part of your medical evaluation for allergic disease. Dr. Song and Dr. Wong will review your medical history in detail and determine which tests you need. Call the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology or use the online booking feature to schedule an allergy evaluation.